SALT LAKE CITY - Last week was "Jimmy V" week, a week that ESPN puts together in college basketball to honor the late Jim Valvano. For those that don't know Jimmy V was a college basketball coach who took the N.C. State Wolfpack on a miracle run that ended in a national championship over the Phi Slama Jama Houston Cougars team with Hakeem Olajuwon and Clyde Drexler.
He is remembered for running up and down the court after a miraculous last second alley-oop was put in. He said was just looking for someone to hug he was so happy.
He was later diagnosed with terminal cancer. This lead to his fight of the disease and his creation of the V Foundation for cancer research where people can donate to fight the disease. Every year ESPN puts on their slate of college basketball special games that promote cancer awareness and raise money for the V Foundation. The foundation has raised over $125 million.
Shortly before his death in 1993 he was given the ESPY Aurthur Ashe Award for courage, in his battle with cancer and for cancer research. What came of that is one of the greatest speeches given. He went through his life quickly then gave some keys for a happy life, keys that are engraved on his tombstone, "Take time everyday to laugh, to think, to cry."
Watch the speech and that will probably take care of each of those. If not hopefully here are some stories that can help out.
Being moved to tears:
Okay, if you aren't crying yet this one should put you over the top. The greatest legacy we can have is our children and when they do something the right way it is hard to not feel proud about the accomplishments.
Jared Stevens is a young man in Brentwood, Tenn. and has cerebral palsy. He wants to compete in all sports and this time it was wrestling. In his first match ever he faced 12-year-old Justin Kievit.
Kievit wasn't sure how to play it out against Stevens who clearly couldn't wrestle, but on his own accord he decided how he would go about it. The match started and Kievet grabbed Stevens' arm and pulled him over the top to pin himself.
The whole story has been covered, Stephanie Grimes did it for KSL.com, for a deeper read on it. Eventually you will stop crying and appreciate that there are people doing the right thing.
The children are the future and this is a person that I would gladly follow as he gets older.
Time to laugh:
Ready for the greatest tradition in college basketball, maybe the greatest one night tradition in all sports.
Here it is, the Silent Night Game at Taylor University in Upland, Ind.
For those unfamiliar with the event it is a game just before the Christmas break where the standing crowd of 2,717 in a stadium that seats 2,500 waits silently for the Taylor Trojans to score their tenth point.
And it is really silent, no clapping, talking or cheering. They will encourage during the first points, but no sounds. Then point 10 is scored and the crowd goes crazy.
It is an absolute eruption of sound. Then the costumes and absolute mayhem starts.
During halftime basically the entire crowd joins a 10-year-old on the court for a dance of Gangnam Style. With dancing bananas, the sexy saxophonist, reindeer and Donald and Daisy Duck going nuts.
Then as the game is in hand for the Trojans, they won 90-58 against Akron-Wayne, the crowd joins arms and sways back and forth singing Silent Night.
It might not actually be the best tradition, but it is probably the most fun. Definitely the most fun anyone will have watching Akron-Wayne take on Taylor.
Makes you think:
Tracy McGrady and Vince Young. No, this isn't the funny one.
It wasn't that long ago that T-Mac was leading the Rockets along with Yao Ming into first-round losses to the Jazz over and over again. Vince Young was a top-pick Heisman winner who won Rookie of the Year looking to take the NFL by storm.
The dominant scorer was a sensation out of high school and got a big deal with the Magic then was traded to the Rockets where he was supposed to carry the franchise.
Granted he did a lot of that. He was a prolific scorer, averaging in the area of 26 points per game during his prime. But now it is amazing to see how far he has fallen. The 33-year-old has suffered from numerous injuries and had to play for the Knicks. Now he is playing in the CBA, yep the Chinese Basketball Association.
This is where this story starts. McGrady is playing and his team is down by 19. The player he is guarding hits a three and give him a old-school finger shake as a taunt. McGrady doesn't like it and gives him a very well recorded elbow to the chest.
Nothing too serious, but it just makes you think how far he has fallen. Lots of players who have something left will take their talents overseas when they have worn out there welcome. But when they have fallen so far as to elbow a player in the other CBA things have become pretty bad.
Young is looking for a job.
Not too long ago he was the savior of the Titans franchise and now he believes he can help out an NFL team despite being jobless this year. Of course he was talking about the Cardinals so it might be true, but the way he went about it is pretty interesting.
He took to Twitter like so many do in these days looking for a job, maybe. After watching the first hilarious then slowly sad and painful 58-0 drubbing the Seahawks put on the Cardinals Young reached out to All-Pro Larry Fitzgerald offering his help.
From his Twitter account he wrote, "@LarryFitzgerald you know I can help tell coach."
First off his request is that he can help tell coach. It might be to help tell Cardinals' coach Ken Whisenhunt what to do when they don't have a job. The Cardinals have gone from 4-0 to 4-9. But it is really about the complete lack of viable options at quarterback for Arizona.
It is amazing where these can't miss products have gone since their high points, but at least they keep trying.
In the words of Jimmy V, "don't give up, don't ever give up."