The death of a child in any circumstance is a horrible tragedy to be avoided at all costs. The world, unfortunately, is a random and cruel place where horrible tragedies occur with terrible regularity. Sometimes, these tragedies are unavoidable - cancer strikes or a freak genetic condition rears its ugly head. Much more often in this country, though, they are at the hand of another - car accidents, suicide, murder.
This is, or rather was, 13-year-old middle school football player Anthony Troupe, Jr. Troupe died last week on a surburban St. Louis football field during practice. Again - unavoidable tragedies happen all the times, even to youth athletes. But here’s the kicker with Anthony: he weighed 383 pounds. In 8th grade. Could his death have been avoided?
While Brooks and the rest of the SbB crew worked hard to get you the very latest on the Steve McNair murder, Sunday turned out to be a pretty big day for three of the world’s biggest athletes — who just happened to have co-starred in the “Citizen Kane” of awkward athlete endorsement campaigns.
That’s right, now that Thierry Henry has been booted from the Gillette posse (at least in America), all three razor-wielding superstars had pretty huge days.
First, Roger Federer made history by winning his 15th Grand Slam title in a crazy five-set win at Wimbledon over Andy Roddick. Pete Sampras was in the audience, taking in the match as only Sampras could — puking his guts out on the sideline looking bored out of his gourd. The 30-game fifth set was the longest in Slam history by a full 10 games. The final game was the only time Federer broke Roddick’s serve the entire match. Only Roddick’s inability to put away four set points in a second-set tiebreak kept him from pulling off the huge upset.
As Federer was accepting his trophy, Tiger Woods was getting ready to tee off in the final round at the AT&T National, which he hosts. I’m not sure I understand the “host” thing, is that like when Heidi and Spencer “host” a party at PURE? He started the day in a tie with defending champion Anthony Kim, but soon found himself needing to keep up with Hunter Mahan, who started well back but fired a 62 to zoom all the way to the top of the leaderboard. Tiger drained a 20-footer on the 16th hole to take the lead, and he got to the clubhouse with two easy pars to wrap up his 68th PGA Tour win. And he interviewed himself afterward. I have to give him credit, though, as it was the first time the questions in a Tiger interview were as boring as the answers.
Jeter got more votes than anyone else in the AL, but is joined in the starting lineup by just one other Yankee — first baseman Mark Teixeira. A-Rod is nowhere to be seen, with Evan Longoria getting the starting nod instead. Josh Hamilton was voted into the starting lineup despite missing all of June with an injury, and this year’s recipient of the Lance Carter Memorial “Who?” Award is Oakland reliever Andrew Bailey, who is a fine pitcher but a guy even baseball fans would be hard pressed to tell you anything about. And while it looks like manager Joe Maddon pulled some homerism by adding Jason Bartlett, Carl Crawford, and Ben Zobrist to the team, all three of those guys are having huge years. And yes, if you’re scoring at home, Zobrist is the last All-Star ever, alphabetically speaking. The other big story is that of 42-year-old Tim Wakefield, who surprisingly has never been an All-Star until now. And congrats to the Royals for producing an actual All-Star this year, rather than their usual token “we gotta put someone on the team” guy.
The NL team is headlined by Albert Pujols, who received the second-most votes ever (only Ken Griffey Jr. got more, in 1994). At age 37, Raul Ibanez is an All-Star for the first time, and has been voted in as a starter. Unfortunately, it looks like he’s probably not going to be able to play. Nor is fellow outfielder Carlos Beltran. That means that reserves Hunter Pence and Brad Hawpe are likely to be out there when the game starts. No true no-name on the roster, as even Pittsburgh’s representative — Freddy Sanchez — is fairly deserving of his spot.
• If you click on only one link today, read this story in the L.A. TIMES about Zac Sunderland, a 17-year-old kid who is nearing the end of a solo circumnavigation of the world on a sailboat. Pirates, broken sails on the open seas, armed police escorts in New Guinea. It’s safe to say he had a more eventful year than the rest of us.
• OK, there was something called the “Junior World Football Championships” going on for the last week, and you’re not going to believe this — but the USA won. Shocking, considering our boys had to take down the likes of France, Mexico, and Canada (which they did by a cumulative score of 174-3). Next time, in an effort to even the playing field and give other countries a fighting chance, the U.S. is just going to send Washington State’s football team instead (they might be able to beat Sweden).
Are you not ready to wish college basketball goodbye for the year? Do you wish you could see just one more unexciting blowout? Are you a fan of subpar hoops, like you saw last night? Well, you’re in luck, because tickets for tonight’s UConn-Louisville women’s national championship game are still available.
(Don’t expect many wide angle shots of tonight’s game.)
As of press time, I’m able to get seats as low as the plaza level, which are the best in the house besides the folding chairs on the floor. But to be fair, it’s tough to sell 72,000 seats to any event, like the men’s title game was able to do last night. What’s that? This game isn’t in a giant arena, but the 20,000-seat Scottrade Center in St. Louis? And what else, you say? It’s clear no one gives a damn about women’s basketball? Well, you said it, not me.
St. Louis’ RIVERFRONT TIMES gives us the latest update on our favorite high school basketball coach of all-time, Vashon High’s Floyd Irons.
The Times reports he “personally spent between $25,000 and $30,000 to house, feed and clothe two Vashon High School basketball players during a five-year period, according to the transcript of his November 12, 2007, interview with officials from the Missouri State High School Activities Association.” Read more…