Michigan Football Injury, Ping Pong At 73, Pro Hoops At 50
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NPR DOT ORG slash game to make a donation to your local station nation. That's donate dot. NPR DOT org slash game to find your local station and get started and thanks. This is only a game. I'm Karen Given for his latest book. John U Hubay can spent the two thousand eighteen college football season with Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines. The book came out in September and since then whenever John stands in front of a crowd promote the book he always tells the same story it was August of two thousand eighteen and John had just started ended his season with Michigan John's wife Christie took their then three and a half year old son Teddy to fan night. He's running around the field having a great time but but that begs the question and that is if teddy wanted to would we let them play football. At that time we really did not have an answer. We were not sure for all the reasons that other parents are also not sure you're so then something about this next story made you feel like you had an answer. Talking to the newsome's take their changed our minds but this is a little bit of a tragic story. It is kind of a tragic story but I figured that grant newsom and his parents would be the acid test. I wanted to ask them. Is it worth it and he did. And here's John Leeann. Newsman had been an all Ivy League football player Princeton Leeann. His wife Kim did not want their son. Grant play football when grant went away. Wait a Lawrenceville Academy and New Jersey. He could not resist joining the freshman football team by a sophomore year. Grant started on the Varsity. He was so good that is coach. Had A warning for Leon and Kim. He sat us down and he said to us if grant wants to do this he's he's GonNa Play College. Football and I was floored because that was not a conversation is expected to be having when he started playing freshman football in ninth grade junior year grand received offers from thirty four schools including every Ivy League team and most of the nation's top twenty programs the recruiting experienced was a whirlwind for grant and for his parents a spring of his junior year. The newsome's drug Penn State for recruiting visit and stop for Gas. So we we we pull into the sheets about about ninety miles away from Happy Valley. And I'm I'm walking into the bathroom and my dad's behind me and there's a man who's coming out. He looks at me and goes grant newsom onto. Yes he said you know. I'm a huge fan. You know really hope you come to to Penn State. We love to have you and I kid you not before we left the sheets there was another fan. Came up grand newsom and we really need offense align. It was weird that he can go to the bathroom but But also just tells you how fanatical the fan bases at so many schools when grant and his parents visited Penn instead again grant went away thoroughly impressed by the coaching staff and the football program and I left Penn state visit thinking. I was going to be any line. We were driving home and I thought well it's game over but grant had one more visit plan. The University of Michigan Unlike Penn State Michigan was headed for a rare losing season. And everything else about the town. The campus and the academics after two weeks of deliberating I still couldn't aside and I remember it vividly sitting in our living room And my mom says No. Hey what you thinking and I said No. I have no idea mom I really. I'm torn between these two schools. Now I it'd be a flip of a coin support and I said well take football out of it. If football goes away because nothing in this life is guaranteed. Where do you want to be? I said well it's no question it's Michigan. And that's that's why. I ended up at the University of Michigan. Shortly after grant made his decision Michigan fired the entire coaching staff and hire Jim Harbaugh fresh and the NFL's San Francisco Forty niners a few days later Harbach called grant introduces himself and I says unique questions for me and I said I guess my only question is do you guys to want me and he said you know if you're if you're loyal to me if you're a little Michigan we're loyal to you and that was all I need to hear. Grant assumed he would not plan Tila sophomore season to save a year of eligibility but during a team meeting before Michigan's eighth game coach. Harbaugh pointed right to him. We're kind of just like an passing comic meaning says grant no be ready. You're playing this week. And I just pillaged around and what was Gasson pointing to myself. Saying me gruesome embiid. Grant played well so well that just one year later he was not only starting at left. Tackle the blindside his already being pegged as a future. Nfl Star charged take the fifth game of two thousand sixteen season. The fourth ranked wolverines take on the eighth ranked Wisconsin Badgers and a future all American linebacker named T.. He Jay Watt. So I knew had Milwaukee but we're playing well it's Seven nothing at that point Been Been Holding my own blocking pretty well so I was feeling good. And it's being like we. We had the game where he wanted it. And then the coaches called a play called ninety nine truck wished to quarterback pitches the ball to the running back. He runs behind grant who clears the way by diving. The defender's there's legs maneuver called cutting as in cutting him down but right before the snap grant had a promotion. This voice in my head and I kid you not on. It's never happened to me ever again. It's my voice and it says if you don't cut him on this play he's GonNa cut you so the ball snapped and something about it just didn't feel right office Smith and I remember thinking as I'm running towards US defender. There's not enough room for me to cut if I cut cut I'm just GonNa clog the whole and it's going to be three gangs. There's nowhere for the running back to go. No this is obviously happening in Split seconds so I make the decision and I said I'm GONNA stay up. You'RE GONNA take them for the team. Essentially essentially I'm GONNA stay up and try to block him in minimizing my body's on the ground and they're gonna be occupying this whole running back needs to run through in the last thing I remember was making that decision to stay up. I see him start to cut. And that's the last thing I remember before on the ground that was probably for the best. The defender had gone headfirst straight eight in the grants right knee so great shoved grants knee sixty degrees in the wrong direction. Grant crumble to the ground landing on his stomach. Unfortunately fortunately it looks like they're left tackle grant new still on the ground and I remember trying to crawl and then I one of my teammates came as a great guy. Get up I remember saying I'm trying and it just it didn't feel like my my body wouldn't let me get up the training staff and our team doctors and coach our come out and they say all right. Can you can turn over for us and I turn over and I feel my pop so you can hear it. You can hear it so I so I I just tore my acl turnover. And you say this I say I tore my the F. ING ACL turning over so with heavy assistance. I walk off the field and right before the tunnel. This fax me that my mom is in attendance on a no. She's probably sobbing this point already so I turn try to give thumbs up no towards the section and other sitting in say. Hey Look I'm fine. You know even if it's attorneys I'm fine you know. We'll get through. This waved off the stretcher and the ambulance wants to walk off on his own powers. You the thumbs up in this grant and the medical staff went to the teams emergency room under the stands. And we're soon soon joined by Leeann Kim and grant two younger brothers and it didn't seem like he was in a ton of pain. You're sitting up asking if he could go back out and watch the rest of the game from the sidelines and they said well we're going to hold on for a little bit initially thought it may just be a sprained. MC L. This point. I'm thinking Lou. I just went from thinking I see L. to now. It's a sprain. I'm doing the math at this point. I'm thinking I'll be back from Michigan State. I'll be back for For a house it certainly so this point. I'm I'm pretty overjoyed. But at the end of the exam the doctors asked grant if you had any tingling or numbness in his toes numbness my toes. But I'm sure that's probably normal. It was not normal. The tingling indicated the main artery which delivers blood to his leg had been damaged and they both look at each other. And say yeah. We're going to take you to the hospital for a few tests and then very quickly. We were getting in an ambulance going to the hospital. Grant underwent x-rays CD scans an MRI trying to find the vascular injury after each test. Not Tony the results. You kind of get this thinking feeling like something isn't right here. Keep in mind. My family and I are watching the Wisconsin Michigan game from the room in the TV on TV in the emergency department. So we're watching this we're following. We're cheering the nurses are trying to Russia's because we're cheering too loud in fourteen. That's enough to beat Wisconsin now and not five minutes after the game ends Dr Career a year who ended up being my vascular. Surgeon comes in the room and he puts I would call the doppler which is a machine that kind of amplifies. The sound of your blood pumping he puts out on my toes listens for maybe ten seconds most and says we're gonNA take emergency surgery. The lower part of your leg is getting fifty fifty percent of blood and needs to thrive. Just look at him and what I had no idea we were talking about some serious. I couldn't even imagine even being at the hospital and so I kind of look at him and look at my family and and the only words I can I can think to formulate our. Am I GONNA win. This is done and the the last thing I remember his saying. We're tired best. The surgery was supposed to last for hours. Kim Leon and grants brothers waited needed and waited and waited. It was seven hours. It felt like an eternity Takoradi emerged and told the family. They were able to save his leg and they thought the surgery was successful. Doctors told the newsome's if they had operated just fifteen minutes later grant might have lost his leg. His mom was right. Football be taken away in an instant and the days that followed doctors removed a large chunk of grants lower right calf muscle. What did it already turned black from lack of blood flow and bolted a metal rod to sty and Shinbones to immobilize grant recovered in the hospital for more than a month? The highlight of my day was moving the the two feet to the chair that was in the hospital room grant stayed in school and started rehab. My my right thigh was the size of my left calf. I took my my second second first steps in my life. Two months after the injury and that those first steps were kind of like the Wright brothers the Kitty Hawk and was very short flight. mm-hmm thanks to a lot of hard work and a lot of help with the coaches and trainers visiting every night for weeks. After six months grant could jog again six months after that he could run full full speed. He was determined to return to the team. The idea secretly terrified as parents but they supported him almost two years. After the injury and August twenty eighteen grant was practicing with the team again. I was able to do all the tin conditioning. Essentially I feel good essentially do everything we could do. Just without pads on and without contact act but add practice a few days later I was just watching offense climbing defense lineman go head to head on blocking drill and just hit me like you. Don't have this anymore. It was just the sophy moment of it is what I'm trying to do worth it. After practice ended grant pace the length of the grass field finally worked up the courage to my dad. And say hey you know. I think I'm GONNA hanging up. I think it's time Lien told. Grant that if he was sure about his decision and he would support it so I think with him probably pace another two miles in that field back and forth and then finally call my mom. MOM's acquire So I call her and tell her and I was here thirty seconds of silence on the phone. I just wanted my son to. It'd be okay and I was worried about. Who has people were going to be? Now if he wasn't if he didn't have his team but grant still had his people he still had his team. Grant is now helping the tight ends analyzing film and send it in place while getting his Masters Degree from Michigan Ford School of Public Policy Coach Harbaugh and the rest of the Michigan family embraced him and continued to embree Sam. In a way that I will be forever grateful for big question. Shen was it all worth it. That is the million dollar question as they say in. My answer is yes emphatically yes. Everyone Likes Mike Joke that your mission got there. They got their money's worth of me But I got all that more for Michigan. I'm really just extremely grateful in some ways. I think everything happens for a reason and I think this was to help him realize that he he he has what it takes to get through the tough times. I think it's it's made grant strong. It's made us stronger as parents. And so I. I wouldn't change that for anything in my book. Leeann said this I believe to the bottom of my heart. Grant will leave Michigan as well prepared to face the world as any young man could be. That's John U Bacon. His new book is titled Over Our Time. Jim Harbaugh and the Michigan Wolverines at the crossroads of College Football. You are listening to only a game from NPR in this. We GonNA ask me another. We challenge singer polical to a game about birds but not before she quizzes US morning. Yes Uh more on. MPR asked me and other listen now. I'm Karen Gibbon and it's time for three stories you should know. I think there's just some a big change coming and as long overdue and I'm excited that's former. NHL Player Akeem illu speaking on Tuesday. A Lou has accused his former coach. Bill Peters of making racist comments other players have come forward alleging physical abuse by peters and other NHL coaches and and that's where we'll start this week. I'm joined by Toronto based Sports. Writers Charene Ahmed via Skype and by New York magazine contributing editor will leach. Welcome back both of you. Hello Karen Hi will honor as always thank you Charene Philipson. While it's been busy in Canada you know this all on the tails of Don Cherry. The hockey night in Canada hosts that was fired by sports net for sharing his xenophobic comments. And then walking back not apologizing for for them so Canada in Canadian hockey and hockey culture generally has begun unintentionally in very. Ill prepared manner begona conversation Asian about racism at hockey and that has sort of also gone in a way where hockey players have come out to talk about. Abusive coaches. Elise said had what happened was ten years ago when he played for the Rockport Ice Hogs and Rob Brindamour who is the now. The Carolina Hurricanes actually corroborated elise his account. And so that's where we are right now is trying to sort of parse out what should be addressed. And honestly one of the few people of Color Sportswriter in and my country sort of saying this should be paying attention to this is who you should be on learning from so charene coaches got pulled into this conversation when the Maple leafs fired Mike Babcock he was let go for not winning games. So how did that turn into this broader conversation. Well what happened was Mitch Martyr. A Toronto Maple. Leaf player came forward and disclosed that he was punched and kicked and then people sort of paused and made the usual pronouncements so he's just very passionate as a coach. I mean we hear about Bobby Knight being legendary being aggressive as a as a coach but this was a different level and then different players started coming forward and it became a thing. Social media really really became a thing in terms of a vehicle for people to disclose this. Well what do you make of all this. You know I always find it telling how how much influence players themselves having this and to me that's encouraging because the thing about players is that they're young people that defend this kind of activity. We are always these old guard people and they'll always claim well. That's the way it's always been and that's the way it should be. This reminds me a little bit of the Richie. Incognito thing happened in football years ago where there was this idea like you. Can't police. Locker rooms the locker room is not a normal place of business. It's different it's men on. What except then a bunch of players players came out and said No? This is not what it's supposed to be like and we don't WanNa work place to be like this. It shows that older guard that claims these are the way that things are supposed to be. Were were obsolete. Years ago you mentioned Bob Knight. There aren't a lot of Bob Knight Defenders Anymore. These conversations tend to have a wider affecting quicker effect in a large part because the players themselves are standing up for what they believe. Yeah I read a comment. This week from George Laroque he played twelve seasons in the NHL and he compared what's happening to the metoo movement and while the type and severity of the abuse is certainly different. I don't think he's entirely wrong. Making that comparison you have a situation where the balance of power is extremely unbalanced and abuse of that power has apparently been relatively typically widespread and well-known. Nobody was much trying to hide it. It seems like and once a couple of people found the courage to come forward and say this this is not right. Other people came forward as well. And now we're really getting a bigger picture but it seems clear to me and I could be wrong but it seems is clear that when these players got kicked or verbally abused or their coach made a racist comment. It probably wasn't the first time that happened happen to them in the game because if it was I don't think everyone would have ignored it so easily and for so long. The New York Times is calling it a cultural upheaval so Shaheen I'm wondering how long before it trickles down to the lower levels of the game. Well I like the term cultural upheaval Vol- far more than I like the comparison. Although I'm a huge fan of lack the comparison with the me too I don't like it at all. I think we shouldn't have to do this. Oppression Olympics within abuse in order to do this and even the inflation of the racist abuse versus physical and verbal and psychological which is all their those that have to deal with racialist abuse far different in carries different types of trauma than psychological and physical would etc etc.. So I think in terms of when it will trickle down the whole system needs to change here. kwami Mason is the director of a really fantastic film calls soul on ice which speaks about black players in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries in the East Coast Canada and he said hockey's a natively diverse. It stems across many communities indigenous black communities the job community entity has their own. TV show parking in pajamas which is wildly popular. So hockey has touched across those lines but it's not inclusive and we need to start having very candid conversation station for me who leads those conversations. A parody of. I don't like the word reckoning 'cause rocketing to me infers accountability and I haven't seen that from the gatekeepers in hockey all right so this week. My tender heart was broken when I learned that the Tampa Bay rays have been forced to abandon their plans to split time between between Saint Petersburg and Montreal at least until two thousand twenty eight. Okay look I know that for many reasons. This was a terrible idea it's logistically logistically ridiculous. It would be a nightmare for players and their families and in the end it might have just been an excuse for the raise. Just shake down to cities in two separate countries for two new ballparks on the other hand neither Saint Petersburg nor Montreal seemed seem to be able to support a full-time team and both cities seem to want one and I personally was looking forward to visiting Montreal in the summertime. Time to watch some baseball SHREEN. Are you also sad. I'm happy because expo gear was really cool and is like super retro so I will acquire a hat at some point I agree with you. I don't even know how this is possible. But you know what this does is make me a little bit frustrated because the links that people will go to in Kengo to for sport is phenomenal and then part of me is like why. Don't people just invest in women's sports this way so I kind of have a different Lens. Will what do you make of this. A large part of this came down to the fact that cities will no longer pay for this stuff anymore. There was a time of maybe fifteen years ago. This might have worked the idea. Did you like Oh. We're going to revitalize downtown all the money's going to stay in the community. Don't worry sure there's a tax breaks in Bonn break and you're paying for three quarters the stadium but trust us we. We owners will give it back to you citizens and so for crying out loud. The new Yankee Stadium in city field were built in large part by by Giuliani. aww sneaking that stuff out the door on his way out to me this is has been a very welcome development over the last five ten years. City councils don't buy this anymore. States states don't buy this anymore. There's occasionally it saddens because like Oh we might lose our team. We have to figure this but the long run. It's good because they're not just giving over the farm too these owners anymore. Yeah the one thing. Thank Saint Petersburg really did right. Is someone there knew how to draw up an ironclad use agreement. It's not even a lease and the raise can't break it like they just can't get out of it and part of me wants the raise to continue playing at the Tropicana which is a terrible place to watch baseball and continue to have some of the lowest attendance numbers in baseball and continue to lose money. Because maybe that will convince billionaire owners that even if they can find a city city that will give them a free stadium. They'd be better off building their own. This is my hope. All right well take it away. I am a fan of the University of Illinois Football Ball team who wants to put it. They're bad they've been terrible forever. They're watching this team has been horrible. They've been a miserable team. But this year behind Lovey Smith. Who is a coach of Illinois Football Illinois? Six they're still not very good but they're going to play in one of these silly little lower tier bowls these bowls do not matter. There's literally a bowl all called the cheese. It bowl is in the grand tradition of really silly balls that are not for a championship and have very bizarre sponsors from the Poland weed eater bowl to the micron. PC DOT COM bowl anyway. The point is all of these tiny little balls. They're ridiculous they probably don't need to exist but they they were good for fans of teams and players of teams like this this year. It's very likely the Illinois is going to go to Detroit. The day after Christmas. The Quick Lane Bowl. I don't know a quick lane is I have no idea. But that's the bowl. They might be playing at. It makes me happy to have all these little silly balls as a place to basically get us through that week between Christmas and New Year's and give something to do rather than talk to our families. Shereen I really really appreciate these. These smaller things. Because it's almost like reclaiming a bit of the sport in a way it's not only the Super Bowl. It's not only the rosebowl there can be other things in everyone can take part. Imagine I like that. It's almost like grass roots and in a way even though we know that teams are huge. Schools are big but I just I really appreciate the frivolity almost of it because sometimes sports needs that all right so you all have convinced me that meaningless bowl games are good but can we all agree on one thing and that is if a player for one of these teams. That's not that great happens to be declaring for the NFL draft and he wants to skip that meaningless bowl game. We're all GONNA be okay with it right because all the drama over like he should be playing for the love of a team or he should be playing for the love of the game when the CEO of the outback backbone made a million dollars and change last year really just harsh on my enjoyment of this corporate spectacle. That bowl games have become. You know I have to okay that makes me feel like you're disrespecting the San Diego County Credit Union and I have to tell you if you're not gonNA support I can I can I i. It's funny as a fan of college football and I watched the Kennedy Credit Union Ball. I'm not even sure what they're selling me. In that ad can I join. I don't live in San Diego. I can give their credit union. I'm not employed by anyone in San Diego. Why are they sponsoring this ball? But nevertheless I don't understand why a lot of these college players play in the championship game. They've got a million dollar deal. Go on the NFL. But that is probably a whole other discussion problem. Imagine being a home of like well. You know I'm generally happy happy with my bank. My guess for this week's edition of three stories. You should know have been Toronto based sports. Sports Writers Shahin Ahmed and New York magazine. Contributing editor will leach. Thanks to both of you. Thank you. Thank you as always Last last June Laura Aaron Shield found herself somewhere. She never expected to be in Albuquerque New Mexico watching her father compete at the national level in a sport. He started taking seriously in his seventies. Here's Laura this ping pong table has become the site side of a showdown. It's the OK corral table tennis but instead of multiple gunslingers on either side there are only two old men holding paddles and one is my father. My Dad Jay. Aaron Shield is crouched like a shortstop swinging his arms to keep his muscles loose stopping wants to brush his white hair out of his. Is His opponent. Seventy four year old Californian named David looks tough if slightly stoop shouldered lean frame tanned soundscan. What appears to be tailored Polo shirt? The man's eyes are locked on my dad. His mouth is set in fierce line. They Volley David Wins. Wins the first point from the sidelines. Dad's youngest brother. My sixty five year old uncle rickie claps. His hands come on Jay. Don't let up. I'll go ricky. Says you get an offensive shot. You take it come on. Come on come on as their friend Carey. Come on man. You got this. We're in Albuquerque New Mexico for the twenty nineteen national senior games a once every two years Olympic style event that that invites athletes ages fifty to over one hundred to flex their athletic prowess in everything from archery to pickle ball. The whole thing feel surreal. Data's competing on a national level in a sport. He only started taking seriously a couple years ago in his seventy s Davis kicking my dad's but blasting every shot off corners and setting being my dad lunging and wild directions data sweating breathing hard. But he's also grinning and laughing and making jokes he's flashing smiles at my mom Basically flirting and I think when I'm seventy three. Please let me have this kind of life. Dad's Ping Pong Group. Is something special. A diverse group of mostly older men at a time when diversity and Aldermen are not phrases. I often connect. The group started five or six years ago. When one of my dad's friends dea eldery a physician who fled Iraq? During Saddam Hussein's reign realized he needed something to keep his body moving as he he got older. After some research everyone calls him. DOC settled on Ping Pong. It didn't take long for the group to start playing in small competitions by the summer of two thousand eighteen dad had qualified for the National Senior Games and after that he and his friends started training in earnest the troubled other ping pong clubs testing themselves against different players Dot Com coach kidneys twenty s. Who is trying to make the actual? US table tennis team. My Dad started watching what he ate fewer late night potato chips CBS. More vegetables last spring dads training was on pace and his game was getting stronger. He and my mom booked a bed and breakfast and Old Town Albuquerque for a week around the senior games and she started making plans to visit Santa Fe. And the Georgia O'Keefe Museum to sample New Mexico's famous Chili Rellenos. And then my dad had cut off his finger. It was April seventeenth nine weeks before the National Senior Games. When my mom's number flashed on my phone it it was just before lunchtime on a workday a strange time for her to call? I don't want you don't worry. My mom started. And if the words had had physical form they would've quivered in the emergency room. Dad had been in the middle of a woodworking project. Sighing a chunk of wood into smaller thinner pieces when the blades sucked in the sham. He'd been using as a guide dragging dad's finger along with it. The blade sliced his index finger neatly at the first knuckle. He was lucky in a few regards. Guards one the doctors thought that his finger could be reattached so he might not lose it entirely too. He hadn't lost much blood and three. The finger anger happened to be on his left. Hand his right hand. His paddle hand was unharmed. DOC was the first person to show up at my parents. Parents House. After the table Saw Accident Dad was under strict no ping pong at least for now orders from his doctor. DOC wanted to make sure my dad wasn't lonely a couple of days later rob. My Dad's doubles partner called. Cf Dad wanted to go to lunch. Uncle Ricky came over and cut the grass. When Dad went back to practice of course he went back to practice? The doctor said he needed to keep his injured finger safe. That meant no lunging in ways that might cause ause him to fall no swinging his arms he served and accidentally knocking it into a table or wealth. Dad's friends police. This the same way. They Played Ping Pong so mercilessly at the national senior games in June. The air inside the Albuquerque Convention Center is filled with the rhythmic. Nick sounds of ping pong balls bouncing off tables and shoe squeaking on a linoleum floor does finger is mostly healed. But not quite per his doctor's orders it is still set in a splint and wrapped tightly in an elastic bandage. He can't move at all on the court. Things are not going well when David Wins Game. Three shutout match my ed places. The ball on the table shakes David's hand and walks over to the sidelines where his friends and my mom or waiting. Don't give up Jay Carey. Says Dad takes a Swig of water water pulls a towel across his neck and head back out to the court to face the next competitor if he loses again he's out dead. Second match is against a tall lanky friendly guy. A semi retired pastor at a Lutheran church in Minnesota. The first game starts out. Okay Dad scores. There's a couple. The pastor scores a couple and then the pastor pulls ahead up by two by five maybe a higher power was pulling for the pastor. Maybe Dad was just too nervous. Or maybe the pastor was just better ping pong. But it's a deflating. Start for my dad. Carry Leans over to me. He's got to get some confidence going forward. Just a little all spark he says in a low voice game to has already started almost immediately. My Dad picks up a great point and goes on a roll game to dad. The match is tied. The Pendulum Swung Ricky tells my dad now you got the momentum Darwin's game three and goes up two games to one one more. We'll give his first win in a national tournament match dead scores again and again and soon it's seven four dad and now carried my uncle on their feet but then the pastor starts S- Corey Corey seven five seven six seven seven. Tie Game. Jay I want you to get an attitude man. Carry shouts maybe that clicks because dad starts scoring again before long. It's ten to eight and then data sending the ball over the net and the pastor can't get there in time eleven to eight a game and match Dad's first national when from my dad and his ping pong friends. I've learned we can approach lifelike at something to he survived and endured something to be fought something to be beaten. We can give up when something tough happens. Sink back into our easy chairs and never get up again or four we can wrap life and our best embrace and allow ourselves new experiences with New People in new places. We can challenge ourselves. We can be kind and and loving and supportive to the people around us. We can bask in the love that shines our way as a result and we can get on a court even in our sixties and seventies seventies and eighties even with partially saw finger. And we can compete Laura. Aaron Shield is a writer based in Columbus Ohio. A longer version of her essay appeared in the September issue of southwest the magazine. We'll be right back with Charlie Pierce. Don't forget to follow us on facebook and twitter at only a game and he only a game is produced in Boston with help from listeners. Like you why not make a donation today just just go to donate dot. NPR DOT ORG slash game to donate to your local station. And thanks. I'm Karen Given next week on on only a game one hundred twelve years ago. Augusta pond set out to drive from what was then pay King to Paris but he ran out of gas in the Gobi desert this year a Belgian architect tried to finish pond started. But now Charlie Pierce is here with the week's news. Hi Charlie. That's a tough place to run out again. Really not good especially in one thousand nine hundred seven. The auto club is not going to come to you in the middle of the Gobi Desert. It's just not going to happen. Two thousand nine hundred ninety is almost over and I can think of at least one guy who might it not want this year to end Ravens quarterback. Lamar Jackson is outperforming. Patrick mahomes record-setting two thousand eighteen fantasy season. His merchandise was Cyber Mondays number one seller and he's on pace to demolish Michael. Vick's single season rushing record for quarterbacks not bad for his first full season as a starter no and the VIC comparisons fall by by the wayside because some Mark Jackson can really throw the ball to. He's a lot of funny. He has made the Baltimore Ravens appointment. Viewing if you're an NFL fan. I mean you just don't want to not watch his team. Meanwhile the forty niners have suspended. Radio analyst Tim Ryan for saying the following about Jackson's skill at running fake a hand offs. He's really good at that site in Mark Jackson but when you consider when he's is dark skin color with a dark football all with a dark uniform. You could not see that thing Ryan has apologized saying I regret my choice of words. Is there any word choice. That would be less regrettable. Grab here no. Tim Regret your choice of idea right. I mean this is we have had generations of football analysts and we've had African African Americans in the NFL for generations as well. Nobody came up with this one before. On Tuesday rutgers rehired former head football football coach Gregg Giannotti shadow is making what is being called a not exorbitant. Four million dollars a year clus a paid country club membership. Access is to private jets for recruiting only for all other university business. Yana will be forced to fly. First Class and a bunch of other perks. I know that the rutgers program is a mess but this seems like a lot for our guy who previously only went sixty eight sixty seven with a scarlet knights. Hey he was over five hundred is all rutgers can expect one on gay and by the way since he left rutgers. I think ranks Yana who has coached every other football team in the world are at the very least. He's been rumored to be taking the job. Now he's back calm and rutgers of course is in the is now in what used to be the big ten and I suspect that his career record at rutgers which is one game over five hundred is not going to stay there well. It was only two years ago. That Tennessee fans staged an out revolt over that schools plans to hire she. Auto auto rutgers fans must feel differently. It seems that was very strange episode night forgotten about it. People running for Governor in Tennessee had to take physicians on whether or not the higher. Greg's Yano that's not happening in New Jersey now. I don't know if people care about who rutgers football did did you see. Lebron James's travel on wins. Everyone everyone else except the rest. I do not know how that was possible. And after the game. Lebron doesn't apparently doesn't know how that would I mean. First of all I know. Oh how he did it because it was just complete vapor. Lock your walking the ball up. And you're not really being guarded that hard and you just you know your brain goes goes away for for a few minutes but how three referees could possibly miss arguably the greatest player in the history of the NBA carrying the ball is beyond beyond me. And actually I give a lot of credit. He took the heat and said he was sort of the referees. For the endless ridicule the referees Hampton suffer for the rest of their lives because the video will never die. Everybody's known for quite a long time that the vote that brought the twenty twenty two World Cup to cutter was less than legit now. Fever has finally admitted it sort of what's going on on the fearful website which despite what what you may think does not have a skull-and-crossbone. There's a document on the website where apparently someone admits that three of the officials got money to vote for Qatar. Putting the thing in Qatar never made any sense. There's no way this wasn't a bribery scandal. We all knew that at the time but now apparently fee has got on on their websites a clear admission and it was. Meanwhile they're saying don't read too much into this. How can we possibly not read into this because we already know I mean I I mean? Don't take our freedom saying don't take our word for it. You know rely on the the endless sack of documents. FBI and the Department of Justice and finally finally Charlie flutie flakes are back twenty years after the breakfast. Cereal sold out of grocery stores. Doug Flutie is re-releasing it once again to raise money money for his autism foundation. Do you have your Bolan spoon at the ready. I have never tasted flutie. Anyone I mean except for the immediate family who's ever eating flutie flakes like frosted flakes or cornflakes or Special K. We know they're flaky. We know we know they're flaky and they're probably probably a bit smaller than the usual flake. Charlie Pierce is the guest editor of the best American sports writing two thousand nineteen and he joins US each week at at this time on only a game. Thanks Charlie next car. There are a lot of seemingly unbreakable record in sports wilt wilt. Chamberlain's one hundred point. Game Nolan Ryan's seven. No Hitters Joe. Dimaggio's fifty six game hit streak. But there's another record you you might be less familiar with and it would be pretty hard to break to only a games. Jonathan Chang has the story short choice on July twenty second two thousand eight in the closing seconds of game between the Detroit shock and the La sparks abroad broke out. Nancy Lieberman was at a restaurant with her son. TJ For his fourteenth birthday day washed a Maili on. And I'm looking at this going. Oh my gosh this is crazy. I mean it was a full on fight. Lieberman was a fifty year old analyst for Espn but watching during the brawl. She didn't see the situation through the Lens of Sports Caster. Instead I looked at that and I went. Oh my gosh. I'm playing. It all started a year earlier at the two thousand seven. WNBA all-star game that was doing the TV for ESPN. And you know they have the skills challenge. The producers wanted Lieberman to test out the skills challenge an event designed to showcase a player's dribbling and passing ability. So Lieberman could better describe it for the not be audience too. I took my shoes off but I was dressed up more for TV than for. I didn't have any athletic gear on so they're like ready. Go and as I finished. I didn't realize it bill. Beer was sitting like off in the bleacher somewhere. Laimbeer was the head coach of the shock and he came up to me goes. That's unbelievable warrior. Time and I said really you still play and I said I messed around play a little. He says when do you turn fifty. I said next July first he he says let's make history and I was like what he goes. Play at fifty four me. I was like absolutely so I didn't I knew I was going to play flay in two thousand and eight. I didn't know when after that conversation Lieberman began training running hills lifting playing pickup games. I I wanted to see what my limits were what my capabilities were and to walk out there and go. Well you know. Who's the twenty five five year old and who's a fifty year old if you line their bodies up and you didn't see her head you know that was my goal so in that broke out between Detroit and La Delay? Lieberman was ready to go. The League suspended five players from each team. And one of Detroit's assistant coaches and bill called me late that night and he goes now I got a couple roster spots available he said I think this is good in time as any and so He says can you come to Houston tomorrow and I said Yes sir. Nancy Lieberman is no stranger to setting records in nineteen seventy six. When she was eighteen she became the youngest basketball player to medal at the Olympics in college? Sheila Old Dominion University to nit title and two National Championships in an era. When and few talked about women's Basketball Lieberman was a national star? Lebron was inducted into the hall of fame in Nineteen Ninety six but it wasn't until the following doing year that the WNBA began. So I played a thirty nine. I guess all soldiers player in the League at that point Lieberman says she wanted to play until she was forty but after that season season she received an offer to become the head coach and general manager of the newly founded Detroit shock and I was so excited six months later I was in and my family moved to Detroit. After three seasons Lieberman left a shock and became an analyst at Espn on July twenty fourth. Two thousand eight fifty year old. Nancy Lieberman was scheduled to being Houston for ESPN. After a bill called me I called my boss city. SPN and said. I'm not going to be able to do. The game in Pat goes why I said I'm going to be playing and she goes what I go to long story but I'm signing a contract in the morning with the Detroit Detroit Shock. I didn't really have much time to be by myself. EXCEPT I go back to my room before we went to the arena and I just I sat there. I can remember sitting on the bed just kind of think about what you know what it meant to me. You know. I've given my life to this game and here it was on yet another level when gametime rolled around Lieberman didn't get to start an thous. Okay the funny part is I'm sitting on the bench and my I son is sitting like across court side and he's like looking at his watch and tapping his watch like come on. When are we going to get this thing going? I'm like dude man. Ah Coaches come from me. And when he wants me to go in and it didn't take long before that happened to go in the first quarter we have some people in the arena arena standing up because Nancy Remember Hall of Famer now in the basketball game. When I went into the game I did tell my teammates? I said even if I'm on the court and I don't look at you. Just keep your hands up and they were like what I said. Please Inner Day Lieberman happened known on for her. No look passes and then I threw the pass. It was over the shoulder and traffic to my teammates and she scored and she was like. Oh my gosh. Oh my gosh I almost. I almost didn't see it. I was like I'm just so happy. made it and it was all over sportscenter. The Detroit shock loss. Sixty one seventy nine to the Houston Houston comets and Lieberman posted just two assists and nine minutes but Chedda impressed even her opponents by breaking her own record as the oldest player to ever play playing a WNBA game. Remember Tina Thompson hugging me and lifted me off the floor and telling me how proud she was of me. And that's all you could do. I was an athlete. Is Hope that you've done it the right way. And you've been a good influence or had hundreds of thousands of letters from people all all over the world you know nobody was negative probably TJ. Because he wanted me to play more minutes but it was. It was really great and you know even with bill it was there. There's no need to play another game and I was like it can't get better than this. Why why would I do anything other than what I just did and I was like? That's it I'm retired a few days later Lieberman was back at her old job at. ESPN ESPN is this. The most unbreakable record of them. All every record is breakable. It just how how far it's pushed I if somebody does it. I certainly applaud them. I'm not here to to hoard anything. We're we're kind of pushing each other to greatness. Has that story came from only a Games. Jonathan Chang Nancy. Lieberman is now the head coach of Tim. Power of the Big Three Basketball League. Only a game is produced by Martin Kessler Angry Wallet with help from Jonathan Chang. Our technical director is marquees. Neil our executive producer is me. I'm Karen Given only a game returns next week. Thanks for listening.