Monday, May 14, 2007

It's All About Heart

If you are a follower of golf, you’ve probably never heard of MacKinzie Kline. Hopefully, after this you will remember the name.

MacKinzie Kline (courtesy Golf Digest Magazine)MacKinzie is 15, has been playing golf for almost a decade and last year she was ranked the number 1 female golfer IN THE WORLD for her age.

What’s more impressive is the 750,000 dollars she has raised for the Children’s Heart Foundation since she became their national spokesperson at the age of 10. Why? Because MacKinzie Kline suffers from a disease called Heterotaxy syndrome, in which she is missing the right ventricle of her heart.

As a result, she doesn’t have as much oxygen flowing to her blood as a normal 15 yr. year old so, when she plays golf or does any other form of activity, it’s as though she’s exercising at an altitude equivalent to the Rocky Mountains, always struggling to breathe.

That’s why, on the course, she is allowed to ride a cart and to take oxygen after almost EVERY shot. She has had three heart surgeries, the latest almost eight months ago, but looks forward to the day she is able to play competitively on the LPGA Tour. She is not playing junior events anymore and has no college plans.

You see, according to doctors, no single-ventricle patient has played competitive sports through their teen years and she technically has a seriously shortened life expectancy. There is no long-term data on anyone with this type of disease living beyond 20 or 30 years of age. Patients can live that long but, according to doctors, they are not sure she will be able to continue her dreams at that point.

So, she perseveres, arising everyday at 5:30, at her tutor’s by 6:15, practicing for hours on her golf game afterwards, dreaming, hoping for that chance to realize her dreams, before they are gone. And, despite all this, she wants to be known for her talent and hard work on the golf course, not as “the Heart Girl.”

MacKinzie, I’m sorry, but your story is ALL ABOUT HEART.

--Brian Eaves

Wednesday, May 9, 2007

Summer (or Spring) of 7

Why is it that professional athletes - not all of them, but most - seem to do things during their off seasons that make them look like complete and utter idiots?

I’m talking about gun possession, drug possession, driving while intoxicated and in one case being, at least at this point, involved with Dog Fighting.

I Don’t Get It...

Okay, now suppose for a minute…just a minute, that your job pays you oh...say $13 Million Dollars a year to play football. That job requires you to be at work for oh...say 7 months out of the year.

That means that you have 5 months to pretty much do, well very little. Most of us would probably take fancy vacations or buy ourselves nice stuff. Maybe we would treat ourselves to a new know, the tangible stuff, things that probably would not get you in trouble.

Seven is as Seven Does...

No, I’m not talking about the lame-ass character that appeared in the Married With Children TV Show for a few episodes, I’m talking about none other than Atlanta Falcons Quarterback Michael Vick.

I’ve gotta say that Vick, probably more than any other athlete that I’ve covered or spent time with, doesn’t make sense. What I mean by that is he’s kind of a contradiction. His personality doesn’t always seem to jive with the things that he does. I’ve spent enough time covering him and observing how he handles himself with the Media, most Fans and his teammates to see that he comes across in person as basically a quiet, low-key, sometimes almost shy person.

But, the contradiction is that he is all of these things, he apparently hasn’t been told “NO” by a whole lot of people. He hasn’t been told that he has to live by the same general rules all of us “Regular Folks” do.

Talk, Talk, Talk...

We’ve talked ad nauseum about the Adventures of one Michael Vick on OSG Sports Radio and more often than not, I’ve been the one who’s sort of defended him. But after the stretch that he’s endured the past couple of months...there is no defense, for any of it. Dude, it’s just plain STUPID. I mean, come on! “ARE YOU THE DUMBEST ATHLETE WHO’S EVER LIVED OR WHAT!”

Dog Fighting?

Yeah, apparently Vick’s nephew/cousin or whoever who lived on property that Vick owned, not far from his hometown, had 40+ Dogs on the property with evidence that there may have been Dog Fighting at some point in time.

Okay, if true, not only is it morally’s a Federal Crime. Not a local crime or a state crime, to which you might get a slap on the wrist, it’s a federal that if you are proven guilty of, will probably result in jail time.

Yes, I know that Vick hasn’t been charged and hasn’t been directly connected to it. He even showed up on ESPN during the NFL Draft to say that he needs to clean up his life, and change the people around him. To that I say it’s a long time coming...but it may be too late. Stories from around the Virginia area are surfacing that despite denying he’s ever been there, Vick has been seen around the house. Stories saying that the Nephew/Cousin didn’t have a “real job” with income. Stories that the Humane Society and PETA already had these guys on a watch list of suspected Dog Fighters.

A Bad Week...

And yes, this is after the “Airport Incident” and in fact, it's in the same week that Vick was supposed to appear in front of Congress to talk about Child Reading Initiatives. The problem with appearing before Congress, he decided it wasn’t worth the effort to get there. He was in Tampa the day before playing golf, his plane was late leaving and he missed his connection. Yes, that does suck, and he was flying AirTran, who’s notoriously unconcerned with overloading planes. Because he was late, the next 2 flights to DC were - you guessed it - oversold, so he would have had to wait for a 3rd. Instead, he just went home.

Good Luck...

All I can say about this and the other string of incidents is “Good Luck.” It’s one thing just to do ignorant, stupid things like get your water bottle past an airport screener. That is just dumb. Being involved...directly or indirectly with a Dog Fighting Operation...well let’s just say that I hope you’ve saved your money and invested well. ‘Cause you’re going to need a good lawyer - and as we all know - Lawyers ain’t cheap!

--Phil Cantor

“The Time has come, my song is over, thought I’d something more to say” Time- Pink Floyd