In light of last week’s developments in the MLB Casey is taking time to reflect on what is good in sports.
Instead of those athletes involving themselves with covert activities in hopes to elevate their status in the eye of the public, this list focuses on the athletes who have competed for the pure enjoyment of sport despite a lack of attention from the public.
First there is Marcus ‘KB’ Nidiffer. His role is small, but as Shakespeare once: “there are no small roles.” ‘KB’ was the University of Kentucky catcher who backstopped a certain 7-time Cy Young award when that professional athlete visited a Wildcat practice last Spring. Thanks to last week’s media scrutiny viewers were repeatedly treated to clips of ‘KB’ clad in mask and chest protector behind the plate. Marcus spent last summer playing in the NYCBL with the Webster Yankees.
One of ‘KB’s’ Webster teammates, Joe McIntyre, has earned a spot on the Wallace Watch. The Brooks Wallace Award is presented annually to the nation’s top player. Semi-finalists for the award are announced in May. Last summer all McIntyre did was lead the wood-bat league with 65 hits (42 game schedule) and a batting average of .409. Good luck to Joe and his teammates at North Carolina A&T.
Xavier Omon of Northwest Missouri State finished his college football career yesterday in the D2 championship game. All Omon has done for four years is run to daylight. Xavier has gained at least 1,500 yards in each of the last four seasons – 1,575 as a freshman, 1,643 as a sophomore, 1,518 his junior year, and he entered yesterday’s D2 title game with 2,337 yards. He finished his career averaging more than 100 yards per game.
Omon and his Bearcat teammates came up short as Valdosta State scored in the game’s waning moments to win 25-20. The loss was no fault of Kendall Wright who sacrificed his body for the good of the cause. With a punt taking a Valdosta State bounce and appearing to head inside the ten yard line Wright dove and smothered the bouncing ball on the twelve yard line. For his efforts he received a crushing hit. Able to start beyond the shadow of the goal posts Northwest Missouri State drove the length of the field for touchdown.
Then there is Justin Beaver of Wisconsin-Whitewater. Beaver rushed for 249 yards to lead the Warhawks to victory in the Amos Alonzo Stagg Bowl. Wisconsin-Whitewater’s victory ended Mount Union’s run as D3 national champ. The Purple Raiders had won the last three titles.
Mami Yamaguchi and Lauren Switzer led the Florida State Seminoles to the school’s first appearance in the Women’s College Cup final. They play like such girls. [youtube=http://youtube.com/watch?v=BwWR_MECVj0]
Don’t try that at home.
Ayegbeni Yakubu is making noise across the pond. The Nigerian has netted seven goals in five matches to lead the Everton Toffees as they make a charge through the Premier League Table.
Ben Cronin isn’t exactly a household name…unless you live in Syracuse. The seven-footer leads Coach Eric Saroney’s Henninger High Black Knights. Cronin will play his college ball at Michigan.
Nicki Jones and her Nazareth Laser teammates are off to an impressive 5-0 start. The Lasers travelled east to take on Liverpool of Section III. Jones dropped 25 and grabbed eight boards to lead the teeny tiny all girls school to a five-point victory. Class AA Liverpool’s ’08 graduating class of over 300 is more than the entire student body at Nazareth.
Like the more prominent report last week Casey knows this list is incomplete; there are athletes all over who are competing without getting their due.