Monday, September 30, 2013

Tickets are on sale for Musial Awards

The news that tickets are on sale for the Musial Awards should have made me happy. For as little as $35, you can be an eye witness to the retelling of stories of unselfish acts of sportsmanship that honor the memory of their namesake. All the honorees November 9 at the Peabody Opera House will display the class and character of Stan Musial, and the organizers at the St. Louis Sports Commission made a smart move in rebranding the night formerly known as the National Sportsmanship Awards.

Instead, selfishly, I'm a little wistful, bordering on melancholy. In years past, the days leading up to the evening gave me a chance to write the most satisfying stories of my career. Talented, unselfish athletes put personal glory aside to help a rival. In each case, the honoree was mystified by the adulation. Each said he/she was just doing what was right.

The simplicity in that truth always moved me to tears and inspired to find the best inside me as a writer.

Sunday, September 29, 2013

Biggest winners at world cycling championships? UCI, Brian Cookson

With the victory of Rui Costa in the UCI Road World Championship on Sunday, the cycling season has the feeling of finality. Costa defeated everybody's favorite bridesmaid, Joachim Rodriguez, by a whisker. The second-place finish was the third of note this season for Rodriguez, who also "took silver" in the Giro and Vuelta and was left in tears each time.

Likewise, Tony Martin's win in the World Time Trial Championship felt inevitable. Martin has gotten the best of Fabian Cancellara for the better part of two years. It's high time to declare Martin the pre-eminent racer against the clock. Even Cancellara seems to have conceded. The time trial remains near and dear to his heart, and he takes the losses hard. But he's expanded his repertoire to dominate in the one-day spring classics of Tour of Flanders and Paris-Roubaix as well.

Cancellara finished third, with Sir Bradley Wiggins in second. You wonder how Lord Wiggins feels about his placement. The early part of his season couldn't have gone worse. He dropped out of the Giro because of injury, and despite being the defending Tour champions, he was cast aside by Sky in favor of Chris Froome, who fulfilled his promise by winning in France for Sky. Wiggins' second-place this week in Florence and his victory in the Tour of Britain earlier this month seems to have helped heal the wounds.

Wednesday, September 11, 2013

Quinn's three sacks earn him title of NFC defensive player of the week

Rams defensive end Robert Quinn tackles Cardinals
quarterback Carson Palmer and forces a fumble in the
Rams' season-opening victory. Quinn was named NFC
defensive player of the week. Photo courtesy of Chris Lee.
Three sacks proved a charm for Rams defensive end Robert Quinn, who was named NFC defensive player of the week Wednesday.

“He had an outstanding game," defensive coordinator Tim Walton said. "He flew around and he had sacks, he had quarterback pressures, quarterback hits. He affected it really good and that’s the strength of our team, those guys up front. But, he did an outstanding job.”

The recognition was reward in itself for Quinn, who wasn't expecting cash, a fabulous gift to come with the honor, much less a new car.

"Are you going to buy me one?" he asked, saying the title came with "nothing that I know of unless they have a surprise for me. I was just told I was the NFC defensive player of the week. I'll add it to my resume, I guess, and move on from it."