BYU guard Craig Cusik hits game-winning buzzer-beater hours after learning father has cancer (Video)

Craig-CusikBYU guard Craig Cusik drained an emotional buzzer-beater on Tuesday night, but not only because it gave his team an important victory over Utah State. Just hours before the game, Cusik learned that his father had been diagnosed with cancer.

Cusik chose not to discuss his father’s condition after the game, but The Salt Lake Tribune reported that doctors found a cancerous tumor Tuesday afternoon, two days after Randy Cusik collapsed and needed to be taken to a hospital. Cusik did discuss the game-winning bucket, which came after teammate Matt Carlino front-rimmed his shot attempt.

“Hard to explain,” Cusik said. “As a player, you couldn’t dream it any better. I was just fortunate. Coach called a great play. I saw that when Matt shot it that there was a chance that it was going to be a little bit short. I ran where I thought it was going to come off, and I was fortunate.the ball came to me. It’s great that I made the shot, but I have to give credit to my teammates who pulled us through the rest of the way.”

The senior finished with four points in the 70-68 win. The shot was likely a much-needed boost for his entire family on what had to have been an incredibly difficult day. Here’s hoping Randy Cusik responds to treatment and makes a speedy recovery.

H/T The Dagger

Michigan recruit Michael Ferns stepped out at 1-yard line so teammate who lost his father could score

On Oct. 3, two days before St. Clairsville High School (Ohio) defeated Edison, St. Clairsville freshman Logan Thompson tragically lost his father, Paul, to an unexpected stroke. In order to help him honor his father, Thompson’s St. Clairsville teammates were determined to make Oct. 5 the night he scored his first touchdown. They accomplished their goal.

Prior to the game, St. Clairsville coach Brett McLean got together with his team — unbeknownst to Thompson — and instructed anyone who had a clear path to the end zone to step out at the one-yard line. Michigan recruit Michael Ferns followed the instructions when he broke a 52-yard run in the fourth quarter.

“When I saw Mike break away down the sideline I just started yelling for Logan,” McLean told USA TODAY High School Sports. “He was surprised because he – like everyone else – figured Mike would just run it on in. Logan didn’t know anything about what we were doing.”

The officials were also baffled by the play, and they signaled touchdown despite the fact that Ferns stepped out. The play was overturned after the St. Clairsville coaches and players emphatically protested the call, and in came Thompson to turn his first ever high school carry into his first career touchdown.

“Mike ran up to Logan and gave him a big hug,” McLean explained. “It was emotional for everyone. Last Friday was something that touched the whole team. Logan was going through so much and for a few minutes we helped him get his mind off of things. It honored his dad. It was just an awesome moment.”

The gesture appears to have meant a lot to Thompson, who paid tribute to his father on Twitter after the game and said he knew “the old man was watching.” Like the story of this unforgettable free throw or this amazing touchdown run, moments like the one St. Clairsville made happen remind us that football is sometimes more than just a game. In this instance, it was an opportunity for Thompson’s extended family to help him heal.

H/T The Big Lead
Photo via @M_Ferns10

Cancer survivor Ben Rouse attends all 162 Milwaukee Brewers games

Ben Rouse is no stranger to defying odds. To the average person, attending all 162 Brewers games in one season may sound like an impossible task. To a 25-year-old who was diagnosed with leukemia in 2007 and is currently in remission, the word “impossible” doesn’t exist.

“You only live once, and you might as well do something when you can,” Rouse told the Milwaukee Journal-Sentinel after completing his tour across North America on Wednesday.

Rouse spent more than 680 hours inside MLB ballparks this season, and he documented his journey with a blog along the way. He was formerly a 20-game partial season-ticket holder with the Brewers, but when he told the team he wanted to attend every game of the season — home and away — they were happy to help. The Brewers upgraded Rouse to a full season ticket package and got him a ticket to every road game. He says he had to spend about $6,500 while following the Brew Crew everywhere they went.

Rouse’s daily blog, Ben Rouse’s Brewers Mission 162, helped raise awareness for the Be The Match Foundation, an organization that helps find donors for those in need of bone marrow or umbilical cord blood transplants. After being diagnosed with acute promyelocytic leukemia in 2007, Rouse underwent various treatments including chemotherapy. He received an umbilical cord blood stem cell transplant in 2009 and has been in remission since.

“Why not do it at 25?” Rouse asked. “Who knows what my body will be like in 20 years, 30 years.”

As expected, his 162-game tour was filled with mind-boggling feats and statistics. Rouse ate 100 sausages, threw out two ceremonial first pitches, traveled 43,000 miles and saw 48,000 pitches. Perhaps even more impressive, he missed only 110 pitches. Most importantly, he showed people that doing something you put your mind to is entirely possible, no matter what the circumstances. If Ben Rouse can fight leukemia and attend all 162 games of the Brewers season, all the while raising money for a great cause, what’s our excuse?

H/T Big League Stew

Nelson Cruz buys firetruck, donates it to his hometown in the Dominican Republic

The town of San Francisco de Macoris in the Dominican Republic lacks adequate public safety equipment for it’s more than 240,000 residents. Fortunately for the people in the town, one of their own is a Major League Baseball player with a big heart.

According to the Star-Telegram, Ranger slugger Nelson Cruz recently purchased an all-terrain vehicle that he will be donating to his hometown to boost their public safety resources. San Francisco de Macoris has very few ambulances and no rugged pumper truck for their fire department, which inspired Cruz to make the donation.

“In my hometown we don’t have ambulances or firetrucks, so I decided to buy one,” Cruz explained. “It was yellow, so we had to paint it red.”

The American Medical Response, which provides ambulance service in Arlington, has also decided to help the cause by donating two ambulances. The dealership in Minnesota where Cruz is purchasing the firetruck from is also sending along hand tools, hoses and nozzles.

“It was definitely something to help the community there,” Cruz said. “I’ve heard that people who have an accident or have something happen have to go to another town. The hospital in my hometown isn’t very big, so they have to go an hour away to get to the hospital. Some people die sometimes because they don’t have transportation.”

The fact that Cruz’s town doesn’t have enough equipment to tend to emergencies is truly a shame, and it’s great that he has decided to use his good fortune to help save lives. The Rangers are also paying to have the vehicles shipped to the Dominican Republic, so thanks to Cruz’s generosity a number of people have gotten involved for a great cause.

H/T Hardball Talk

Blind swimmer Brad Snyder going for gold at the Paralympics

Olympic swimming looks like incredibly difficult work. In addition to trying to cruise through the water at amazing speeds, swimmers have to somehow figure out a way to see what they’re doing. Four years ago at the Beijing Olympics, Michael Phelps spoke about how challenging it was to win one of his gold medals after his goggles filled with water the second he dove into the pool. What is an already tall task becomes seemingly impossible without vision, which is what makes the story of Navy Lt. Brad Snyder so amazing.

Snyder lost his eyesight a year ago while serving in Afghanistan after stepping on on a hidden bomb. According to NBCNews.com, he initially thought he had blood or dirt in his eyes before his worst fears were realized. On Friday night, Snyder will get back into the pool in search of a gold medal in London — one that would bring his total up to three medals at the Paralympics.

“Yes, I’m really competitive,” Snyder when talking about his desire to win. “The idea that there shouldn’t be anything in the way of barriers presented to you that slow you down. Yeah, (stuff) happens. But I hope this shows the value of attitude, of making a decision to not look back. I made that decision. From that point, it was all just about figuring it out and moving forward.”

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Young boy sends Canadian relay team letter, medal after they were disqualified

A young Newfoundland boy sent a sweet letter of support and medal to his country’s relay runners after they were disqualified from a race at the London Olympics.

Canada’s 4×100 men’s relay team finished third at the London Games, but they were disqualified and missed out on a bronze medal after judges noticed that sprinter Jared Connaughton, who was running the third leg, stepped on the lane line.

10-year-old Elijah Porter felt badly for the team, so he sent them a letter and Timbits medal he earned by participating in a Canadian youth sports program, to lift their spirits.

His letter says:

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Marine’s father surprises him by catching first pitch on Father’s Day (Video)

Many people take Father’s Day for granted and have a tendency to forget about the men and women who are serving our country and can’t spend Father’s Day with their dads. For the past eight years, U.S. Marine Corps Sgt. Christopher Farias has fallen into that category. As his father, Lawrence Farias, revealed, Christopher has not been able to spend a Father’s Day with his father in eight years because of deployment or other military responsibilities. With the help of the Dodgers, that changed over the weeekend.

As you can see from the video above that MLB.com’s Cut 4 shared with us, Lawrence surprised Christopher by wearing a catcher’s mask and being on the receiving end of the ceremonial first pitch. Like the military man who was surprised his daughters a few weeks ago at the Twins game, we can only imagine how the two of them must have felt.