Behind the Mic: Youth Must Be Served

Even if you are not into golf, by now even you know of the amazing rally by Jordan Spieth at the British Open on Sunday. He played the final five holes five under par after losing the lead in the tournament for the very first time in four days.  In doing so, he, along with Jack Nicklaus, became the second player to win three of the four Grand Slam tournaments by the age of 23.  If he wins next month’s PGA Championship, he would be the youngest to win the Grand Slam.

So I now know what Spieth has accomplished at such a young age. It made me curious about some of the accomplishments of other young athletes in other sports.  Who were some of the others to make an early name for themselves as a youngster?

Baseball: Julio Urias (19 years old) – Became the youngest starting pitcher to pitch in the major league for the Dodgers in 2016. He lasted 2-2/3 innings.

Tennis: Michael Chang (17 years old) – Won the 1989 French Open, becoming the youngest winner of a tennis grand slam singles event by beating #1 Ivan Lendl in a four- hour match.

NFL: Amobi Okoye – (19 years old) – Played college football for the Louisville Cardinals at age 16; drafted in the NFL at age 19 and played in an NFL game at the age of 20.

NBA: Andrew Bynum (18 years, 6 days) – Played for the Los Angeles Lakers alongside Kobe Bryant (who at 18 years, 158 days became the youngest ever to start an NBA game), made an All-Star team and was a member of two championship teams.

Soccer: Freddy Adu (14 years old) – Became the youngest athlete to sign a professional contract, the youngest to appear in an MLS game, and the youngest to score a goal in the MLS.

NASCAR: Joey Logano (18 years old) – Became the youngest to win a NASCAR Nationwide Series race.

Men’s Golf: Guan Tian Lang (14 years old) – The youngest golfer to qualify for the Masters. He made the cut and became the youngest to do so.

Women’s Golf: Michelle Wie (10 years old) – The youngest player to qualify for the US Amateur; later she became the youngest to make an LPGA cut and the youngest to play in a PGA event.

“Children should be seen and not heard” is a phrase I heard often as a child.  I am assuming all of the teenagers who I just mentioned rarely heard that idiom.  Instead, “youth must be served” seems much more appropriate in these remarkable examples of early accomplishments.

 

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

 

  1. Chicago Bears linebacker Jerrell Freeman used the Heimlich maneuver to save a man’s life in a Texas airport on Sunday. The man was choking while Freeman was enjoying a brisket sandwich. His quick action probably saved the man’s life.
  2. The Cubs had a mediocre start to the MLB season prior to the All-Star break and were five games out of first behind the Milwaukee Brewers. Since the break, they have won eight of nine and moved into a tie for first place in the NL Central. Is the magic back?
  3. The British Open featured two of the easiest players to get behind and root for – Jordan Spieth and Matt Kuchar. So Spieth’s win was not a disappointment for this fan, but one had to feel for Kuchar who was trying to win his first major. Kuchar did win $1,067,000, however, to ease his pain.
  4. A golfer who made the cut in the British Open and finished dead last (70th) earned $23,600 for his efforts. Still not a bad paycheck for a week at the office.
  5. Mark your calendar – Freedom takes on Central Catholic in our opening football game of the year. Tune in at 7:00pm on Saturday, August 26.

Behind the Mic: What Were They Possibly Thinking?

I am not dumb enough to think that terrific athletes or sports personalities are necessarily, also, intelligent people. But, all too often these days, there are incidents that force average “Joes” like me to wonder, smart or not, what were they possibly thinking?

Let’s start with Ozzie Guillen who recently managed the Miami Marlins. One of the reasons he was chosen was because he related well to Spanish-speaking citizens in and around Miami. So what does he do? He talks about his respect and admiration for Fidel Castro in a city where many Cubans have fled Cuba because of their hatred for the Cuban leader. What was he possibly thinking?

Dennis Rodman visits the North Korean leader, Kim Jong-un, who runs death camps and oppresses his people. Rodman said, “He’s a good guy to me. He’s my friend.” Rodman totally disregarded all of the tragic history of the country and the man. Rodman’s statement implies that those who have suffered have earned their suffering. Otherwise this “good guy” would not have done these evil things. Dennis, what were you possibly thinking?

Sergio Garcia, one of the most recognizable members of the PGA tour and loaded with product endorsements, attacks Tiger Woods for an unsportsmanlike incident which turned out to be totally inaccurate. He not only doesn’t retract what he said, but he also doesn’t apologize and further tarnishes his image with a racist comment about serving “fried chicken” if he had Tiger over for dinner. All he had to do was ascertain the facts about the incident and keep his mouth shut. He didn’t do either! Instead of continuing to be a popular golfer, he will lose future endorsements and constantly hear a chorus of boos from the galleries. He goes from good guy to bad guy because of an incorrect interpretation. What was he possibly thinking?

Notre Dame went to College Football’s National Championship game last year with freshman quarterback, Everett Golson. Golson was looking at three more years playing the most glorious position at college football’s most historical football institution and the adulation that comes with THAT territory. All he had to do was just stay in school. However, Everett Golson is no longer enrolled because of “poor academic judgment.” We do not know what he did – cut classes, cheated on tests, had someone take his tests, failed too many courses – the list could go on and on. The bottom line and most obvious question is, “What was he thinking?”

I could certainly give you more examples – NBA’er Andrew Bynum bowling on a bum knee, causing him to now have two bum knees; NBA’er Amare Stoudamire punching a glass fire extinguisher following a loss to Miami; Lance Armstrong’s arrogance in denying his use of illegal substances when he knew he had been caught; etc., etc. I wish I could understand what they were thinking. But, alas, I cannot!

ABOVE THE EARS (SOME MUSINGS)

1. I have tried to watch the Phillies, but their pitching is bad and the hitting is worse. They are getting to be an old baseball team and it is showing.

2. Heartbreak occurred at the Indianapolis Speedway again for the Andretti family (Mario, Michael, Marco). Marco was right there, kept all the locals in front of the TV, and, once again, fate dealt a stunning blow with a caution flag that cemented defeat and a fourth place finish for Marco. The family says there is no curse; I do not believe in curses; but, if I did, the Andretti history at Indianapolis would certainly qualify as one.

3. Tiger Woods, whose golf schedule is certainly limited, has agreed to play in the Turkish Airlines Open in Europe. Why there, you may wonder. There is a $7 million purse. Still wondering?

4. I needed to prepare for the District XI baseball championships over the holiday weekend. It is very difficult to get information when schools are not in session. I finally got everything I needed Monday night at @ 10:30 (after numerous phone calls to coaches). I worked all day Sunday with what I had. Guess what? The games were rained out on Tuesday and one of the games (already done) was moved and will not be televised. I am not complaining; just a little venting. Thanks for listening.

5. I am hosting Sportstalk next Thursday (June 6) and the panel will be discussing the best 5 high school football players at various positions. Dick Tracy, Dennis Laub and Joe Craig will offer their lists. Join us with your opinions. I am sure there will be many.