Play by Play
When One Sport Just Isn’t Enough
As we sit and watch the impressively athletic displays put forth on television or in person, we think to ourselves Wow, the amount of skill it takes to be a professional athlete is amazing. Now imagine attempting to play professionally in not just one but two different sports. A handful have attempted, with Bo Jackson finding perhaps the most success, actually playing baseball and football concurrently, earning All-Star status in both. An entire Nike ad campaign centered on his ability to do and know everything when it came to sports. Michael Jordan probably drew the most attention in recent years, when he retired from basketball in 1994 to play minor league baseball. Hitting only three home runs, his stint proved temporary and Jordan quickly returned to the court for the 1996 NBA season. Then came Tim Tebow who, after coming up short as an NFL quarterback from 2010-2015, expressed interest in the MLB in 2016. While he spent last year with a minor league team, finding about as much success as MJ, as of January 19th of this year, the New York Mets invited him to try out for their squad. Even Russell Wilson, the quarterback of the Seahawks, got in on the action, albeit only joining Yankees spring training for fun. And if that weren’t enough, just this week, JuJu Smith, of the Pittsburgh Steelers, launched a campaign to recruit LeBron James, arguably the best player in the NBA. While this basketball season has certainly been filled with conversations about where James will play next year, convincing him to switch sports entirely might be a bit of a stretch. Sorry JuJu.
Faces and Facts
Featured Female – Erin Jackson (speed skating): The first African American woman to make the USA’s long track speed skating team. Despite finishing 24th in the 500 meter event in PyeongChang, Jackson considers herself a winner for simply having qualified. Seeing as she only started training 5 months prior (having spent her career as an inline skater), I’d say that’s quite an impressive feat.
Shaquem Griffin (Football): The star of this year’s NFL Combine, where the top college prospects try their best to impress NFL coaches and scouts. Due to a prenatal condition, Griffin was born with an underdeveloped left hand. Eventually, after suffering from extreme pain, and one attempt to cut it off himself, at the age of 4, Shaquem’s parents decided to have his hand amputated. Despite discouragement from coaches, repeatedly hearing he couldn’t play and continuously being moved down to lesser lines or squads, Griffin persevered. By his fourth year at University of Central Florida, Shaquem was finally given the opportunity he’d been waiting for. And he certainly did not disappoint, earning awards and accolades during his final two seasons of college football. During this year’s combine, Griffin benched 225 pounds 20 times (his previous personal best was 11 reps) while wearing a prosthetic and ran the 40-yard dash in a blazing time of 4.38 seconds, the fastest time recorded by a linebacker since 2003. NFL players have come out expressing their support of, and desire to play with, Griffin. In a letter he penned to the NFL’s General Managers Shaquem described the sport not as a job or an obligation but his purpose. Stay tuned to see what Griffin does, and where he goes, next.
Jim Kelly (Football): Hall of Fame quarterback, for the Buffalo Bills, whose cancer has returned for a third time. First diagnosed with 2013, Kelly prepares to fight it yet again. In his own words, “I might have lost four Super Bowls in a row but I’ve kicked cancer’s (butt) twice. And I plan on making it a third.”
The last Rundown (which was many months ago, apologies) started to cover minor penalties in basketball. Unfortunately for us, there are more than three of these infractions (traveling, double dribbling and goaltending were touched upon previously). Below are a few more penalties that occur throughout a basketball game.
- Shot clock violation: Once in possession of the ball, and across half court, a team has 24 seconds to take a shot. When a team fails to shoot the ball within this time frame, or takes a shot that misses the basket entirely, it is considered a shot clock violation. If the team takes a shot that hits the rim but does not go in, and then regains possession, the 24 seconds starts anew.
- Three seconds: When an offensive player spends more than three continuous seconds in the free throw lane (also called the key). If a player leaves the key and then re-enters, the three seconds starts over again and there is no violation.
- Ten Seconds/Over and Back: After a point is scored, the other team inbounds the ball below their own basket. They then have ten seconds to move the ball across half court. If they fail to do so, it is a ten-second violation. Once the offense moves the ball across half court, the team cannot cross back over the center line with the ball. This is called over and back.
Once again, these infractions result in a loss of possession (the other team gets the ball).
Minnesota Timberwolves v. Golden State Warriors (NBA): These two teams have met three times so far this season, and Minnesota holds a slight advantage, with a 2-1 record. However, both have suffered a few key injuries in recent weeks. Warriors stars Steph Curry and Andre Iguodala missed Friday’s game while Jimmy Butler of the Timberwolves is out for the season following knee surgery. The depth of the Warriors roster, with all-star players like Durant, Green and Thompson, sets Golden State up for a potential win. Yet the recent reunion of Butler, Tom Thibodeau (the Minnesota coach) and Derrick Rose (newly signed) might just give the Wolves the spark that’s needed. Game starts Sunday at 3:30 EST.
Carolina Hurricane v. New York Rangers (NHL): Not only do these two teams hold very similar records, having won thirty games a piece, but this matchup also pits two brothers against each other. Jordan Staal, captain of the Hurricane, is the younger brother of Rangers’ defenseman Marc Staal (their eldest brother Eric plays for the Minnesota Wild). Should make for a fun game. Puck drops 7pm EST on Monday.