There are a lot of great opportunities that come with being a superstar like Alex Ovechkin. Making a charitable impact – particularly on children – might not be the first thing that comes to mind, but plenty of athletes do just that. ESPN’s Sportscenter has been running a “My Wish” segment which follows sports stars working with the “Make a Wish” foundation for seven years now and Ovechkin will be featured in one this week.
Ovechkin spent two days with 16-year-old Sam Jacobson, a boy from Idaho who is playing on his high school hockey team despite battling lymphoma. The segment includes a moment when Jacobson got to skate with the Capitals during a March 7 practice and will first air on Thursday, July 20 at 3 p.m. ET.
Here’s a summary from the Capitals’ press release.
Ovechkin spent two days with Sam Jacobson, 16, including after a Capitals practice at Kettler Capitals Iceplex on Wednesday, March 7. Jacobson who played on his high school hockey team despite recovering from lymphoma, had his most heartfelt wish come true as he met his hockey idol Ovechkin and skated with him after practice on March 7, 2012, through the Make-A-Wish®. Sam began the day by taking a tour of the practice facility and Caps’ locker room. Inside the players’ locker room, he had his own stall, stocked with hockey equipment donated by Bauer. After he suited up, he ended the day by skating with Ovechkin, Karl Alzner, Jason Chimera and other players following their practice. In addition, Sam attended two Capitals home games and spent some time with Ovechkin following the games in the Capitals locker room.
That’s fantastic, isn’t it?
ESPN reports that 41 athletes will be included in this year’s segments. Lebron James, Kyle Busch, DeSean Jackson, Rory McIlroy, Mark Sanchez and Ovechkin will be featured in this week’s segments. You can check out a video promo here.
It’s common in sports to see people repeat phrases to honor its stars (or shorten their names). It always seemed wrong – if understandable – that LaDainian Tomlinson was called “LT” after Lawrence Taylor owned it. It kinda felt the same way when Game 7 OT hero Joel Ward evoked Marshawn Lynch’s shtick when describing Braden Holtby’s great play during a 4-3 series win.
“He’s been in beast mode,” Ward said.
Don’t get me wrong, that’s a fine phrase, just not the ideal one.
Honestly, with the way he didn’t even react to Rich Peverley’s slash threat, I think I’d evoke the “ice water in veins” cliches. I’ll open the floor for some cool nicknames for Holtby then – give it your best shot.
(Editor’s note: if Ward was somehow making a reference to that so-bad-it-was-good Sega game “Altered Beast,” then I retract any criticisms I just made.)
“Breaking the fourth wall” is a term in entertainment, but Ryane Clowe’s bizarre puck-touching incident plays like sports’ answer to such a break from the script. Whether it’s a coach, player or even fan, sometimes people “intervene” in events in a way that makes us gasp. Here are some of PHT’s choices for the most famous – and infamous – examples of such moments in sports.
How could the notorious Chicago Cubs fan-turned-scapegoat not make such a list? If you have even a vague interest in sports, you know the story. The Cubs were in Game 6 of the NLCS against the Florida Marlins when Bartman reflexively reached for a ball, Moises Alou lost his mind and then Bartman was blamed for the loss, the sagging US economy and Michael Jordan’s time with the Washington Wizards.* You know things are bad when ESPN makes a documentary about your shattered life:
From the “far more injurious” department, we have Sal Alosi, former strength and conditioning coach for the New York Jets. On Dec. 13, 2010, he tripped Miami Dolphins player Nolan Carroll and, well, you just have to see it to believe it:
Bobby Knight, Jim Playfair and other coaches throwing things
OK, this is a slight cheat as most of Bobby Knight’s epic meltdowns seemed to come after or before the whistles so to speak, but are you really going to complain about watching all of these great moments of object-throwing anger? Robbie Ftorek shows up in the video below while Jim Playfair might win the hockey division altogether.
The second example was less slapstick and more mean slap: you may remember Alex “A-Rod” Rodriguez slapping a baseball away from Bronson Arroyo during “The Bloody Sock Game.”
Jeff Van Gundy holds on for dear life
The New York Knicks-Miami Heat feud might have been the closest basketball ever came to hockey and the quality of play was about on “Dead Puck Era” levels. (Translation: not good.) On the bright side, all the ugliness had at least a moment of comic relief when Jeff Van Gundy tried to stand up to Alonzo Mourning (who was fighting Larry Johnson) and instead went on the ride of his life.
So where does Ryane Clowe’s odd interference weigh in? It came during a big moment, yet not in a huge one like many of those events, which frequently happened during the postseason. Still, if you want to judge for yourself, read up on the reactions here and take another look at the video below:
Anyway, those are some of the greatest break-the-fourth-wall moments that come to mind. The beauty of a comments section is to fill in the blanks with “How didn’t we think of that?” type entries, so fire away with some of your favorite omissions.
Leafs’ new low: fans chant “Let’s go Blue Jays” during rout
While there are times when fans will promote local teams when times are good (usually when a given squad’s success is unusual), it’s often the comical barometer of especially bad times for a franchise.
James Mirtle points out that the team is 5-17-3 in their last 25 games, which would be a 43-point pace during a full season. It’s pretty tough to blame fans for getting sardonic about the whole situation – especially since the one plus (improving draft lottery odds) probably falls upon deaf ears considering the franchise’s lengthy struggles – but the bad times aren’t lost on players.
“I don’t know if you guys have seen something like this before because I haven’t,” Kessel said. “We just can’t figure it out. We’re trying.”
The merciful news is that the Maple Leafs only have four games left this season, with two at home. That’s plenty of time for fans to come up with another round of funny chants, but at least the suffering will end … or at least will be paused until next season, depending upon who you ask.
On the bright side: baseball season is right around the corner.