|Superstars are human beings, too!|
|Saturday, March 22, 2014 8:00 PM|
By JIM METCALFE
I guess that we can become jaded as to the reality of sports.
We all hear, know, read about, tweet, etc., etc., etc., about the bad things our athletes — professional and college especially — do to get themselves in trouble.
It is unfortunate that good stories don’t “sell” newspapers or get the ratings; there’s no “money” in writing about how a man helped another guy out instead of robbing him.
We have our daily fill of man’s inhumanity to man, up to our eyeballs with it.
Fortunately, there are more than a few good stories to restore our faith in humanity.
The one that recently caught my eye was regarding Michigan State senior basketball player Adreian Payne.
It caught my eye when I saw replays of the Spartans’ Senior Day and Payne carrying a little, blond-haired girl on his shoulders.
I wasn’t able to watch it further then to figure out what it was about, though the thought of Make-A-Wish came to mind.
Now, as the late venerable radio man Paul Harvey would opine, comes The Rest of The Story.
The girl in question is 8-year-old Lacey Holsworth.
It seems they met when she was in the hospital a couple of years ago battling cancer and Payne quickly befriended her on a visit.
She has become a regular with him; for example, being carried to the top of the ladder Sunday to help cut down the nets at Indy to celebrate the Big Ten tournament title the Spartans won.
This is most assuredly a battle for the 8-year-old because the moment doctors seem have this — neuroblastoma, usually associated with infants and younger children — dealt with, it comes back in spades.
Payne already did something that is a minor miracle in itself in these one-and-done days of agents that tell every high-schooler or freshman he is God’s gift to the world or the next (fill in the blank): came back for his senior year when he could have headed off to the NBA and started making millions of bucks.
Why? He wanted another chance to play in a Final Four for his alma mater.
What? How dare this guy from Dayton put off millions for — a dream?
What is he, a kook? A goofball? An irresponsible hooligan?
By the way, the answer to the above queries is no.
The story will continue on as this brave little girl — any brave little girl, or boy, or man, or woman — goes on fighting this disease and any other like it into the future because these two will remain friends; they are bonded.
After all, the other part of the story is that this 6-10, 245-pound beast of a player was diagnosed as cognitively disabled as a child.
I know this isn’t quite a Make-A-Wish Foundation story but since this is Metcalfe’s Musings — and I am musing right now! — bear with me.
There are many athletes and other stars that make themselves available for these children (usually) that are battling life-threatening diseases such as this one or any number of others; they dream of spending the day with their hero!
Just as in the case of Payne, you open yourself up to bonding with someone that you know may or may not make it.
We hope and pray that these children going through their struggles will make it and they have life-long friends for decades but, unfortunately, we know of too many that have lost the fight.
What would make a superstar willing to open up to a potential painful episode like this to someone they would likely never meet under other circumstances?
The same answer as to why any “ordinary” human being among us would.
Maybe they aren’t so different after all!