Is this heaven? No, it’s the Musials

I was working on my favorite assignment of the year, telling the stories of the Musial Award winners for the St. Louis Sports Commission, when I was reminded of my husband’s favorite movie, Field of Dreams. There’s this scene in which Shoeless Joe Jackson returns from the dead and looks with awe at a baseball diamond that has been carved out of what should be a corn field. The transformation was completed at the behest of a little voice inside the farmer’s head.

“Is this heaven?” Shoeless Joe asks.

“It’s Iowa,” erstwhile farmer Ray Kinsella answers.

The scene is repeated near the end of the movie, only this time, Ray’s long-departed father asks the question. Ray answers again, “It’s Iowa,” but after a long look at the dad he hasn’t seen for decades, adds, “Maybe this is heaven.”

The folks of that great state have created another magical field. From Iowa Hawkeye fans have sprouted the tradition of turning and waving to the kids in the hospital that overlooks Kinnick Stadium between the first and second quarters of home games. Fans beyond the state border have shed a tear or two when watching the video of the entire stadium, spontaneously and organically taking time out to wave, and of the kids waving back.

The wave has inspired national stories of the kids, their struggles, their resilience and their hope. The Musials instead chose to focus on the two people, strangers at the time, who pushed the idea of the wave on social media. One, Levi Thompson, runs a fan website. The other, Krista Young, is just a fan.

Their story is a testament to the little voice inside each of us, urging us to perform a small act of kindness. I was honored to speak with them and share their story with you. As I was for the other nine honorees.

Come to think of it, Ray’s words apply to the sum of the Musial Awards, a night to honor the best of humanity in sports. When you look around the Peabody Opera House, you see the honorees and their acts of grace, class, dignity, sportsmanship. You see how their actions lift a crowd out its seats and move it to cheers and tears.

Is this heaven?

No, it’s the Musials…

… Maybe it is heaven.

 

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You have entered the world of virtual racing … you will be assimilated

OK, it’s not really like the numerous episodes of “Star Trek,” in which The Borg try to take over The U.S.S. Enterprise, nearly succeed but eventually succumb to the individuality and creativity of the plucky crew.

Instead, virtual racing is a viable option for runners who believe in a cause. A case in point is Four Legged Running. Since starting with a single race for a local animal shelter two years ago,  founder Angela Tedemann (shown in the photo) has expanded to eight partner shelters, some as far away as Nashville and New York.

Virtual racing is a cool way to build you stash of race bling, and you stay in control. You put in the miles, you log the miles, you get a medal.  You run when you want, where you want and avoid the crowd, if you want.

Terrain offered me the chance to explore this growing trend. You can read more here.

Two-for-one in “Terrain”

Terrain, the region’s premier source for news and features about outdoor and endurance sports, is growing up. What started as a quarterly publication has expanded to six issues a year. Working with them has been an honor and a ball, so it’s kinda neat to see the publication grow.

My work is well-represented in the January-February 2017 issue. Included is a feature on RAAM, the Race Across America. It profiles local cyclists who
competed and Joe Ferguson, the owner of Revolution Cycles in Washington, Mo.,  who serves as host of a timing station. Each of them can scolleen3pin a ripping yarn about the beauty, mayhem and suffering of a cross-country bike race.

The second story is a Q&A with Colleen Quigley, aka @steeple_squigs, a graduate of Nerinx Hall High who finished eighth in the steeplechase in the Rio Olympics. She is many things to many people: model, little sister, coach’s daughter. Most importantly, she has become her own woman.

I hope you enjoy getting to know each of them.