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Knowing the Score

When you are looking for ideas for your sports column, the last thing you want to lead off with is news about death, but unfortunately, three deaths shocked the sports world recently. 

On Saturday, July 5, Kennedy’s former starting forward Andre Davidson died, falling to the floor after a lay up during a pickup game at St. Mary’s gym just weeks after he graduated. 

The 18-year-old, who was gearing up to play for Mohawk Valley Community College, was taken to Lincoln Hospital where doctors pronounced him dead.  The cause of death has not been released. 

I had an opportunity to watch Davidson in action this season, as Kennedy dominated the Bronx AA Division.  Davidson was a gifted athlete who contributed greatly to his team’s success.  It’s a shame to see a life cut so short.  I have no doubt he would have accomplished great things on and off the court and my deepest sympathies go out to his friends and family. 

The very next week, the New York Yankees announced the passing of former player, executive and broadcaster Bobby Murcer due to complications from brain cancer.  He was 62.

“Bobby Murcer was a born Yankee, a great guy, very well-liked and a true friend of mine,” Yankees chairperson George Steinbrenner said after hearing of the loss. “I extend my deepest sympathies to his wife Kay, their children and grandchildren. I will really miss the guy.”

While a family service will be held in Oklahoma City, an additional celebration of his life will be held at a date to be determined.  Knowing the Yankees, I am sure it will be a classy goodbye to a legend who touched many lives during his lifetime. 

“If there’s a Hall of Fame for people, he’s in it,” said Reggie Jackson.  “He enjoyed life, his family and people. He was such a good person, and he was appreciative of the people who cared so much for him.”

Throgs Neck Little League vice-president Joe Tucci also recently passed away.  A wake was held for the longtime contributor to the league at the Schuyler Hill Funeral Home followed by a funeral at St. Francis De Chantal on Wednesday, July 16.  Tucci was buried at St. Raymond’s Cemetery. 

The Throgs Neck Little League has had to deal with some tough losses.  It’s a shame to see those who have worked so hard to make the league the success it is today move on. I hope to see younger residents from throughout the community step up and help Robert Jonap and others lead the league and continue the legacy left behind by such men as Joe Tucci and Leo Vitti. 

It’s hard to move on from such a sad topic, but I will try. 

I have been watching a lot of baseball as of late.  The Mets have won nine straight games going into the All-Star break and are only a half-game out of first place in the NL East.  But it has nothing to do with their new manager.  The Mets were just slumping and would have found their way under Willie Randolph’s leadership, too.  I’m still upset with that firing. 

But while watching baseball, it got me thinking about the things I am proud of most when it comes to my job as a reporter, as it pertains to the world of sports.  As an avid wrestling fan, I had the opportunity to interview one of my favorite wrestlers growing up, Ted Dibiase, as he prepared to discuss being saved by religion at a church in Throggs Neck several years back. 

I even had the opportunity to announce matches for USA Pro Wrestling, an independent league that booked some shows at Lehman College back in the day.  I got to announce a match involving the Legion of Doom, the first team I ever saw in a wrestling match; I got to announce with Missy Hyatt, a talent I watched while still in elementary school; and I got to announce a match featuring Matt Striker, the teacher who got fired for skipping school to wrestle, and is now a WWE superstar. 

But I think my greatest feel-good moment will come when I watch someone like Mauricio Matos step up to the plate for his first game on an MLB team - the same for other sports. 

My greatest joy as a sports writer is watching the unknowns become future stars and to see dreams realized...it would be like realizing my own dreams.  I can’t wait to say, wow, I remember watching him play in high school.  I always thought he was going to make it one day. 

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