Our weekly Monday sports round-up features a generous act by a Raiders lineman, a heart-warming return to the court for a determined middle schooler, another domination by the UK Wildcats basketball team, and a certain stud WR on the NY Giants.
1. Raiders Offensive Lineman, Menelik Watson, Donates Last Week’s Game Check To Four-Year-Old Fan with Heart Condition
The Oakland Raiders have not been a very good football team this year. Or last year. Or the season before that.
But this week, they did very good, off the field.
This week, the Raiders hosted Ava Urrea, a four-year-old fan who was born with half a heart. Young Ava has had 14 surgeries to date. Ava was made captain for a day and received signed helmets and footballs. On top of that, Raiders OL, Menelik Watson decided on his own to donate his entire weekly paycheck of about $36,000 (~$19,000 after taxes) to her family.
It was quite the gesture of charity and kindness by the second year player. Clearly one of the good guys in the Black and Silver.
2. Middle School Student, Zach Doubek, Battling Back from MRSA After Surgeries and Rehabs, Returns To The Court
Too often, we brush past the great power of sports to foster love of teammates, to show the power of determination, and to provide a stage for overcoming adversity.
But there is a powerful example of all that right here in my hometown of Maplewood, NJ. Last summer, 12 year-old Zach Doubeck was struck with MRSA, a life-threatening antibiotic-resistant staph infection. Zach loves sports, especially basketball. While fighting off the disease, he was hospitalized, had multiple surgeries, and had to undergo serious rehabilitation and therapy after a long period of recovery and immobility. His teammates and friends, and the entire community supported him all the way.
As reported by The Village Green, this past weekend Zach made his return to the basketball court. Though not yet physically ready to play in games, after returning to practice, his coaches got him in the game to fulfill his goal of scoring two points in a game this season. To make that dream come true, the coaches from his team and the opposing team agreed to allow Zach to score the first two points of their game, a symbol of his return.
In warm-ups, his coaches and teammates donned ‘United We Stand ZD’ shirts. When the game started, Zach grabbed the ball off the opening tip-off and laid it up and in.
The crowd erupted:
He was later re-inserted into the game, scoring four more points.
Zach’s story of community support and personal determination, filtered through the lens of sports, really demonstrates what it’s all about.
3. University of Kentucky Absolutely Dismantles UCLA
We covered University of Kentucky Men’s Basketball in our inaugural column last month. Then, it was their 86-28 obliteration of Montana State that was making news. Our take on that was: “There appear to be some unbalanced match ups in Men’s NCAA Basketball.” (Also, that Montana at least could take away that it is a beautiful and scenic state.)
But this was UCLA. An eleven-time national champion. A storied program that gave us John Wooden, Lew ‘I Became Kareen Abdul Jabbar’ Alcindor, Bill Walton, Reggie Miller, Baron Davis, Kevin Love, and Russell Westbrook. To name a few.
This year’s Bruins squad was off to a respectable 8-3 start.
Kentucky started the game on a 24-0 run, and held UCLA to seven (7!) first half points. The seven first half points were the lowest that the Wildcats held an opponent to since they did it to Carnegie Tech in 1943.
Kentucky vs UCLA…(minus MJ of course) pic.twitter.com/5BNbtWJsIc
— Vashti (@VashtiHurt) December 20, 2014
Honorable Mention: Odell Beckham Jr. Continues to Do Odell Beckham Jr. Things
The three-time ‘So…This Happened‘ featuree, ODB, kept at it this Sunday against the Rams.
The St. Louis Rams hadn’t allowed a TD in its past three games. No matter. Beckham racked up another 148 yards receiving and added two more TDs, going over 1000 yards receiving for the season and bringing his TD total to 11.
As this young play by play announcer in training says, “Odell Beckham Jr. is a Boss“:
(You didn’t seriously think we’d do one of these without Odell Beckham, Jr.? Did you?)
For back-issues of our weekly “So…This Happened. Three Things in Sports,” see:
Dec. 15, 2014 Edition: Odell Beckham Jr. (again!), Johnny Manziel being shown the money (but not how he imagined), and a wonderful speech by Notre Dame’s women’s basketball coach about activism by athletes – and all of us – in the wake of the death of Eric Garner.
December 8, 2014 Edition: Eric Garner protests by athletes, Andre Johnson’s Christmas toy shopping spree for kids, and the Legend of Odell Beckham Jr. grows.
December 1, 2014 Edition: Ferguson protest by the St. Louis Rams, what’s good about sports from Ohio State/Michigan, and an epicly bad loss by the NY Football Giants.
November 24, 2014 Edition: Odell Beckham, The Red Sox, and Kentucky Wildcats basketball