Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Opening Day 2009

Editor's Note: Major League Baseball opened its season April 6, so this week we asked a fan of the St. Louis Cardinals and a fan of the Chicago Cubs, arch rivals in the National League Central division, to offer their reflections on Opening Day.

Out of the Cold, a Need for Closure

By Matthew Melick

I woke up on Opening Day dreading the thirty degree temperatures and snow that had pushed into St. Louis the night before. But I knew that these temperatures were short-lived—it was baseball season. Each spring in the Midwest, Opening Day—as all the great baseball writers have written—signals an end to the cold and darkness. As a Cardinal fan, Opening Day usually means two things—the natural beauty of spring and its longer, warmer days will be arriving shortly, and Cub fans can be excited about their team’s prospects for a couple weeks.

But this year, it is our turn to be excited, hopefully for more than a couple weeks. This is the year the Cardinals take back the Central, the year they come up with an answer in the bullpen. In 2008, the Cardinals blew a Major League-leading 31 saves and somehow still managed to finish just four games out of the wild-card. But that was last year. This year, the Cardinals have a great new closer and all of the problems of last year (and the year before) were just that, problems in the past. Right? For some reason (probably like most Cardinal fans), on Opening Day 2009 I had an uneasy feeling about the prospects of a bullpen anchored by a former catcher with only eleven prior Major League appearances.

Unfortunately, my feelings were validated—so much for change. So much for the chance to be hopeful about your favorite team’s prospects. Opening Day 2009 will forever be imprinted in my memory as the day I learned that one team can have two blown saves in one game.

Yet at the end of the day, somehow, hope had returned. It is spring, things change and grow, it is just a slow process. That is perhaps the best part about Opening Day. If your team wins—“awesome, this is the year”; if your team loses—“oh well, it is early.”

October Doesn't Care

By Bryan Timm

As a Cubs fan, I have come to a realization that is going to make this season a little different from those past. October just does not care.

October doesn't care about Opening Day. October doesn't care about players being tired from the World Baseball Classic. She doesn't care about signing a fiery right fielder or about the struggles from an imported center fielder. She doesn't care about the Houston Astros looking for some semblance of revenge for what Carlos Zambrano did to them after Hurricane Ike devastated Texas.

I encourage Chicago Cubs fans to ignore all the columnists, talking heads and any other random idiot trying to make a case for caring this early. It doesn't matter to me anymore, and it shouldn't matter to you. The only thing that matters is what the Cubs do once the season changes from summer to fall and the playoffs arrive.

I understand the excitement surrounding Opening Day because I feel it too. The prospect of sitting outside with a cold beer in my hand listening to Pat and Ron call a game is just as attractive to me this year as it has been in years past. But this year has to be different. It has to be.

The Boys in Blue may get off to a fast start and run away with the division. They may struggle early and have to hold off the Cardinals down the stretch to get in. But barring some sort of insane string of injuries, the Cubs are going to win the division, probably quite easily. So while I may be yelling at the television in May because Kosuke Fukudome misplayed a fly ball, resulting in a Cubs loss, it will be a reserved yell. Because quite simply, October just does not care.

Matthew Melick is an associate attorney at Carmody MacDonald P.C. in St. Louis, Missouri.

Bryan Timm is a cross country and track coach at Rosary High School in Aurora, Illinois.

Labels: , ,

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

Are You There God? It’s Me, March Madness

By Brandon Christol

It’s March, and you know what that means: It’s Fire Prevention Month!

Oh, and it’s time for March Madness! Ah, March Madness—an annual tradition of buzzer-beaters, upsets, watching basketball at work while trying not to get caught, and—most exciting of all—lots of numbers accompanied by alliterative adjectives (e.g. Sweet Sixteen, Elite Eight and Final Four). It’s an extended sports spectacle that grabs the attention of Americans young and old and fills the coffers of bookies everywhere. Sixty-four teams enter with one common goal: to apply the concept of Murphy’s Law to my bracket by losing if I pick them to win and winning if I pick them to lose.

March Madness is one of my favorite times of year, mainly because it features 126 hours of sweet hoops action spread out over 10 different days. But there are many other reasons to feel much gladness about March Madness:
  • You get to hear Gus Johnson call last-second shots. “Rises and FIRRRRRRES … GOT IT!!!!” Sometimes I spice up my day by pretending Gus Johnson is announcing my actions. As in: “He drives down the road, looks right as he goes to parallel park, squeezes in there, straightens it OUUUUUUUUUTTTTT … GOT IT!!!” If you don’t know what I’m talking about, or even if you do, click here, sit back and enjoy the beautiful rhetorical stylings of the third greatest announcer in the world.
  • The Chippens NCAA Tournament Challenge!
  • It means baseball’s Opening Day is just around the corner. In fact, the championship game often coincides with the Cubs’ first game (like it does this year), which is like having your birthday on Christmas or buying a house and discovering that it comes with a BMW.
  • It’s college basketball with no Dick Vitale. Why won’t he stop yelling at me? I don’t care what BMOC stands for. What did he say? The ACC is strong this year? I can’t understand him when he screams like that. He sounds like Kermit the Frog if he were afflicted by voice imodulation disorder and injected with some sort of serum limiting his speech to strange and ridiculous exaggerations.
  • Winning the Chippens NCAA Tournament Challenge!
  • One word: Drama. It’s Win or Go Home. There’s something natural and Darwinian about it. Teams play 25+ games, fighting and clawing to claim a spot in the tourney, and then all of a sudden—BAM!—a last-second heave from half court (hopefully called by Gus Johnson) can send them packing ‘til next year. There’s no best of five, no byes, no Bowl. It’s drama to the 64th power.
If you want to reminisce, or perhaps whet the palate in preparation for this year’s Big Dance, check out some of these clips:

Western Kentucky over Drake, 2008
Illinois vs. Arizona, 2005
Top ten March Madness buzzer beaters from ESPN

Enough already, just tell me what to do with my bracket!

OK, now that we’re all ready for the games, I’m going to share with you my unrivaled expertise and guaranteed predictions. That’s right—advice straight from the person who finished in a respectable 8th place last year, and quite presciently predicted that all four #1 seeds would make the Final Four. (Pay no attention to my 43rd place finish in 2007, in which I guessed only one of the Final Four teams correctly.)

While there’s no one team with a stranglehold on the title this year, I still think the sport is top heavy. I have two #1 seeds making the Final Four this year (Louisville and Pitt) along with a couple of #2 seeds. I think Pitt, with the talent and athleticism of DeJuan Blair, Sam Young & Co., will come out of the East and ultimately defeat Louisville for the title. I love the Cardinals out of the Midwest—they didn’t just survive the insane gauntlet that is the Big East, they won the regular season and conference tournament titles, and I don’t see them losing to a young Wake Forest team, a strong but rebuilt Kansas squad, or the solid but not-quite-at-that-level Michigan State. In the South, I think UNC will stumble in a shootout with Gonzaga, opening the door for Oklahoma. And out West, I have Memphis taking down UConn in what should be a great game.

Teams that could advance further than expected include West Virginia, Purdue, Clemson and Utah State, who travels to the neighboring state of Idaho to face a Marquette team that has dropped five of six after losing Dominic James. And though I’m a big Illini fan, I’ve got them bowing out as the victim of the classic 12/5 upset. While Bruce Weber is one of the best X’s and O’s coaches in the tournament and has had them overachieving all year, U of I lacks a go-to guard in the clutch. Plus, Chester Frazier, their best defender, is most likely out. Either way, I don’t think they’re getting through Gonzaga, though I’d love to be wrong.

But enough talking about basketball—bring on the games! Enjoy!

Brandon Christol is an assistant director of admissions at Illinois Wesleyan University in Bloomington, Ill. To read more of his sports writing, visit his blog Wait ‘Til This Year.

Labels: , ,

Tuesday, March 3, 2009

Truth and Resurrection

By Megan Taylor

Newspapers everywhere are dying.

Mass extinction has threatened their medium for some time, and those that live on may only do so by way of evolution into something else entirely. What will someday be classified as a “newspaper” may, by journalistic standards, be a “publication” at best.

It is widely speculated that dinosaurs died off as the result of some cataclysmic meteorite crash into the earth. Just like scientists argued over the cause of mass extinction, analysts have their different theories about what ails the newspaper industry today.

Most often, we hear the Internet threatens to dissolve print media. News done a la Internet is instantaneous. Readers can follow a story as it develops, and, for the most part, it’s free. Advertisers may no longer think about things like circulation when considering their best resource, but rather about Web hits, which typically outrank the circulation of even the best of pubs.

Threat initiated by the latest technological advancement is nothing new. Imagine the fear newspaper publishers must have felt when television producers began providing viewers with live news coverage. But newspapers have proven that they can ride out change, and this should again be the case as papers contend with the Internet. When marketed properly, a Web edition of a newspaper can help bring in more revenue and garner more exposure world wide. Many pubs use the Internet to build readership and promote their print editions. Indeed, the World Wide Web is not what afflicts newspapers today.

If newspapers (increasingly viewed as archaic and dated) are the dinosaurs, then greedy corporate America’s mismanagement, and not the Internet, will be the meteor directly linked to their demise.

In corporate culture, making money is more important than serving the public. Pressed by a limping economy (which gains its crippled status through the greed of other corporate enterprises), newspapers have seen a significant drop in revenue generated through advertising. Couple that with increasing print costs, and newspapers executives everywhere feel the pressure to crunch numbers.

Thus, the newspapers let accountant types and advertising clods run the show instead of editors. Devoid of all passion for truth and journalistic integrity, these number crunchers make cuts in the most illogical places while spending more money trying to sell ads. They can hire more people to sell, but if the product is compromised, who will want to buy it? It’s true a newspaper also is a business, but it can’t be run like any other business, because it is not.

In these cases, upper management seems to forget that in order to maintain or increase revenue, a desirable product must first be established. When the product is no longer desirable, sales go down. A newspaper is like a garden and the editorial staff cultivates a marketable product. The fewer gardeners tending to it, the more weeds. Weeds are things like national news filler or national photos where interesting local stories used to flourish.

Back to the dinosaur analogy, let’s look at the evolved “newspaper” of tomorrow. Because of the pursuit of the almighty dollar, advertising executives now exert all influence over the editorial board. Truth is buried because it may offend one particular advertiser. “News” now becomes stories suggested by the ad execs about things like new products sold by a participating advertiser or a business’s 11th anniversary. The newspaper is no longer a force for accountability, but a white elephant advertising-for-editorial swap meet.

The new creature dragging itself out of the muck bears the semblance of its former self. But underneath its skin it harbors a fatal flaw. It will only be a matter of time before it is picked off by something stronger and better equipped to stand the test of time.

Let’s hope whatever survives has the pursuit of truth in mind. That and that alone will ensure the newspaper's survival.

Megan Taylor is the former staff writer for The Town Meeting, a weekly newspaper of Elk Rapids, Michigan, which closed its doors on January 23, 2009 after more than 30 years of business.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, February 24, 2009


By David Chorlton

The use of language is a deceptive enterprise. Words don’t necessarily mean what they were meant to. Take the rental agreement issued by a prominent car rental company for example, in which the customer’s pink copy bears the details whose ink already appears faded in the moment they are printed. Toward the upper right-hand corner the letters spell out: DAY = CALENDAR DAY. My wife, having had to rent a car for a few days, asked what this implied. Jeremy, the enterprising assistant, mumbled something about the date and sounded deliberately non-committal. So the renting of the vehicle ensued, and when time came to return it my wife, who has lived her entire life with 24-hour days, had her sense of time challenged. According to Jeremy’s calendar, a day is a day even if it doesn’t begin until 5pm or if it ends at noon. Put plainly, counting the calendar day rather than the number of hours enables the enterprise to squeeze an extra day’s fee out of the customer to go with the additional insurance charges.

Jeremy, I am sure, is simply an obedient soldier in the army of commerce doing what he is trained to do. So let us check in with some of the published comments the enterprise in question makes about itself on its Web site, starting with “Personal honesty and integrity are the foundation of our success” and continuing through the stated intent “to exceed every customer’s expectations.” Shouldn’t “foundation” be plural? Never mind, at least we can guarantee that the customer’s expectations will be exceeded when twenty-four hours turns into two days. This observation simply points to a corporate manner of communicating in a promising but ultimately uninformative manner. Political language is taught in the same schools.

Vagueness in speech is never as useful as when employed in circumventing ethics in behaviour. At least the seven deadly sins were listed with specificity. In our time, we need to be sharp enough to interpret what is said to us and especially when it is said by politicians, the natural allies of enterprising corporations. Take “an honest mistake,” as it was brought up as a defense of the nominee for the position of Treasury Secretary when the news broke that he owed $34,000 in taxes and was still the choice to oversee the IRS. What exactly is an honest mistake and when does it become a tax break?

Slogans are designed to raise expectations without ever stating exactly what it is we can expect. You could be considering a career with our unnamed car rental company, the one that claims, “We built our company around being honest and fair, and at the same time, incredibly motivated and entrepreneurial. This is where your potential becomes reality.” All the qualities mentioned sound just fine, but in every one of them there is some of what we may call wiggle room, enough to accommodate a flexible interpretation. This is an even more cozy situation for those who invest in themselves by describing themselves glowingly. Public relations and advertising are excuses for corporations to lavish the kind of praise on themselves that we, as individuals, would find arrogant and objectionable should we speak of ourselves in the same way. Therein lies the difference between language as we use it to communicate and the neatly processed phrases with all the spontaneity ironed out of them in conferences before they are broadcast to the rest of us.

Imprecise language is, sadly, a staple in foreign policy. Consider the number of times “American interests” abroad are mentioned by spokespersons for the administration in their appearances on TV news shows to justify actions of a military nature. If the word “interests” were replaced by “military base” or “energy source” we would hopefully be more suspicious. Developing a sharper ear for manufactured speech should be then first line of defense against being personally manipulated and ultimately being party to the policy of killing for profit and power. Jeremy might think about applying for one of those jobs with the administration; he’d likely earn more than the car renters pay him.

Labels: ,

Tuesday, January 20, 2009

American Renaissance

Politics, the arts, and sports may not seem to have much in common, but in the last 16 months I have discovered that they have at least one common thread: they are all concerned with testing the limits of what is possible and with re-imagining an apparently fixed reality.

From September 2007 to August 2008, I was a sports writer covering high school sports for four small, weekly newspapers in rural Northern Michigan, and since August, I have taught humanities and English at Heartland Community College in Normal, Illinois.

As a sports writer, I watched as high school kids dared to have dreams that outsized their God-given circumstances. Many times, those dreams were realized, and those teams and athletes that achieved unexpected or unprecedented success did so not only because of their talent and preparation, but because they allowed themselves to think bigger than their current sphere of possibility, to have the same type of ambition as Captain James Cook, who once said that he wanted to “not only go farther than anyone else, but as far as it was possible to go.”

Looking on from the sidelines, I could always tell when a team succeeded in breaking limits that had been set and hardened by a grim history: the athletes always had the same look of joy that I saw on the faces of those in Chicago’s Grant Park on election night last November and on those filling the National Mall during the inauguration. It’s a look of faith rewarded.

I’ve seen that same look in the eyes of some of my students when they’ve been transported into a new world by a work of art and have not come back the same. The world has changed. What once seemed immutable, judicious, and even natural now seems transient and arbitrary.

These students, just like the young athletes I admire, also have faith in an ability to reach beyond the seeming boundaries of possibility and to trust what is found there.

The election of Barack Obama has made me realize that politics, despite what the cynics say, is no different. Art, sports, and politics, at their fundamental level, are all concerned with first dreaming and then achieving a new possibility. What we call tragedy is when those possibilities are put before us and then denied by malign fate. Romeo and Juliet. Steve Prefontaine. Bobby Kennedy.

But, so far, the story of our new president has not been tragic. Our sphere of possibility as a people and as a nation has been irrevocably expanded. And this time it was not just one man with a dream, but an entire nation that rejected its historical limits of possibility for one of its own citizens and thus for us all.

President Obama opened his inaugural remarks by addressing us as citizens, not just as Americans. On election day, each citizen had at least as much faith as the candidate, for each one was required to imagine something that has never been and trust in it. Each one was required to go beyond his or her previous limits and be willing to not come back the same. The candidate, now the president, led us there, but not by force.

By doing so, Barack Obama sustained the American Dream in a way much more profound than by giving Joe the Plumber a tax break. He led us to renew that dream ourselves through our own act of faith; he did it by leading us to trust in our own hopes for rebirth and change. He led us to believe once again in the main tenet of American idealism, that present circumstance is never to be confused with inevitable destiny.

Barack Obama led us to have the same faith in politics that we do in sports and in the arts — a faith that doesn’t seek to overcome the impossible, but rather a faith that validates our American belief that some things only seem that way.

Labels: , ,

Friday, April 4, 2008

Superdelagates, Unite!

If the Democrats are to win the White House in 2008, they need to start acting less like movement conservatives in the way that they stubbornly hold fast to ideological principles despite all the evidence that suggests their sacred ideas are bad ones.

And as a good liberal, I’m worried. I’m worried that the Democrats’ inability to treat their nomination as a practical matter, and not as a sanctified exercise of democracy, will ultimately lead to another Republican administration.

While watching HBO’s “Real Time with Bill Maher” recently, I was discouraged when Mr. Maher acted as if there were no potential consequences of a long nominating process. The votes of all Americans must be counted! That’s what’s most important, right? Not even close.

Democrats, superdelegates especially, need to be reminded that there are real things at stake here, things that supercede philosophical debates about party rules. In all likelihood, the next president will nominate two supreme court justices, inherit a recession, and have the opportunity to reshape our policies in Iraq and Afghanistan. That’s a full platter.

I’m horrified by recent polls that suggest Obama and Clinton supporters won’t vote for the other candidate if their first choice does not win. I can understand the disappointment of not having your greatest hopes realized, but now is not the time for pouting on the sidelines.

Instead, unhappy Democrats should just do what my brother advises and “hold your nose.” After all, that seems to be the Republican strategy.

Before Mr. McCain won his party’s nomination, there was widespread speculation that conservatives would not get behind him.

But, eureka! Miraculously, he seems to be enjoying ample support from his base. Perhaps movement conservatives have perfected what liberals should start practicing: considering the alternative.

Republicans have an agenda that they are committed to advancing, and their internal squabbles are quickly forgotten when the big picture comes back into view. Those that fall en route are quickly trampled over as the rest of the group marches toward the One End.

Democrats, on the other hand, squirm endlessly over relative minutia and worry constantly about who might be left behind. In this case, that means agonizing over whether delegates from Michigan and Florida will be seated. Or whether every state will get a chance to cast votes. Or whether pledged delegates or the popular vote is more important. Or whether big states or small states or traditionally blue states or the overall number of states is the most important.

Fueling these pointless hypotheticals is the ideological opposition Democrats have to disenfranchisement — the “will of the people” must be protected at all costs. A noble aspiration, indeed, but no way to win an election. Here, again, Democrats should take a cue from Republicans: worry about ideology after you get elected.

At this point in the Democratic race, it has become obvious that Mrs. Clinton can not overtake Mr. Obama in either the pledged delegate count or in the popular vote. She is sustained only by her own ruthless ambition, which has recently led her to claim that pledged delegates are a “misnomer,” and by superdelegate fence-sitting.

There is no reason for this to continue. It’s time to make a choice before we’re all forced to go down with the ship. If superdelegates are worried about the party’s selection process appearing undemocratic, then they can take heart in the fact that most of them are currently serving a term in Congress, and they got there because people in their state or district elected them to make choices on their behalf.

And if, as a constituent, you don’t like who the persons you voted for are propping up for national office, then there’s an easy, built-in democratic solution: elect someone else to represent you. Or, form your own party, make your own rules, and run yourself. Joe Lieberman did.


Tuesday, February 5, 2008

Elections 2008: Time for a Change

Editor's Note: This essay originally appeared as an editorial in the Jan. 10, 2008 edition of The Town Meeting.

By Brian Keilen

Ah, 2008 is finally upon us. But from all the talk surrounding this year’s presidential election, it feels as though it’s 2009 and George Bush’s successor is already comfortably situated in the Oval Office.

It certainly is shaping up to be an exciting year, if you can stand all the political commercials for the next 11 months. Come November, we could see our first female or our first black president. Not that Michigan has much say in whether Hillary or Barack even have a shot of replacing the big W.

No, no, we, in extremely uncouth fashion, had to go ahead and “break party rules” and move our primary to Jan. 15. Boo-hoo.

So now I don’t have the chance to vote to give some guy I’ve never met a free trip to Denver so he, in turn, can vote that we can vote for another guy (or gal) in November. I’m sure my extreme disappointment exudes off the page.

But never fear, my fellow Michiganders, we will have the opportunity in November to go to the polls and vote for some more guys to go to Lansing on the first Monday after the second Wednesday in December (whenever that is) and vote for who the 44th President of the United States will be. And we’re worried about elections in Pakistan and Iraq.

I, for one, have not missed and will not miss the mudslinging that would have inevitably been taking place at this very moment had we not “broken party rules.”

Speaking of that, since when can “breaking party rules” disenfranchise an entire state? Not that our votes really meant that much to begin with, but still.

It’s funny how every election year the talking heads are always lamenting the low voter turnout in the United States and describing how every other country has such better turnout and then our political parties tell us our votes mean nothing anyway.

I received an e-mail today (Jan. 7) from the Michigan Democratic Party encouraging “fellow” Democrats to vote for Ron Paul in the Republican primary. Will wonders never cease? Democrats encouraging people to vote for Republicans? I’m bound to see cats and dogs playing together on my way home. At least now I have a choice other than “uncommitted.”

The last time I checked, the right to vote was in the Constitution. I can’t find anything in there about Republicans and Democrats (or Whigs or Federalists or any other political parties, for that matter). So how come political parties have such great control over how we vote? When did it become a good idea for the people in the election to determine the rules?

No, my fellow Americans, our system is not perfect, not matter how much Washington wants us to think it is. In a country that touts itself as the bastion of freedom and integrity in the world, it takes no less than four votes to determine our chief executive. This year, a change in who lives in the White House is inevitable. A change in how the next person gets there is needed.

At least Ron Paul’s not complaining.

Brian Keilen is the editor of
The Town Meeting, a weekly newspaper in Elk Rapids, Michigan.


Wednesday, November 7, 2007

To Marathon

Editor's Note: This essay orginally appeared as a column on page A1 of the November 7, 2007 edition of the Antrim County News following the death of Ryan Shay.

In 490 BC, a Greek soldier named Pheidippides ran the nearly 26 miles from the battlefield outside the town of Marathon, where the Greeks had just vanquished the Persians, all the way to Athens. “We are victorious!” he shouted, just before collapsing to the ground, dead.

When you consider the story of Pheidippides and his mythical run, it seems like he was just fulfilling his own destiny.

When you consider the extraordinary life of another marathoner, Ryan Shay, the same appears true.

Ryan’s life seemed to be plotted toward one ultimate design: qualifying for the Olympics.

At the Olympic Trials on Saturday, Ryan died trying valiantly, as he had done his entire life, to fulfill that destiny.

On Sunday evening, I had the chance to sit down with Joe Shay, Ryan’s father, and he tried to summarize Ryan’s commitment to running by telling me a story.

“Sometimes I would get people calling me,” he recalled, “and they would ask ‘Do you know your son is out running in a snow storm? Why does he do that?’”

Here Joe paused and turned his head to look me in the eyes — “It’s who he is,” he said.

“For Ryan, the moment he woke up, running came first.

“It was a singular passion.”

If you talk to the people who knew Ryan best, they describe a person with the ambition to set lofty goals and the work ethic, determination, and willingness to make the sacrifices needed to achieve them.

“If he had a goal, he was going to get it,” Eric Shooks, Ryan’s friend and former teammate, said. “The commitment he had to running was unbelievable.”

Current Central Lake Athletic Director Quinn Barry was a teacher and the varsity basketball coach during Ryan’s high school days.

“Ryan was one of those kids who from early on you could tell always had an intense desire,” Barry said. “You can’t compare his work ethic (to anyone else’s).

“I convinced him to play basketball because I told him it would improve his fast motor movements for track.

“I remember, we’d have what I thought were grueling two-hour basketball practices, and after they were over, Ryan would put on his sweatpants and hat and go for a 12-mile run.”

Making the Olympics in distance running, especially the marathon, is probably the hardest thing to accomplish in all of sports.

There are 360 very well-paid professional basketball players in the NBA, many of whom never even play in a game.

There are even more professional football and baseball players in the NFL and MLB, respectively.

But only three — three — marathoners make the Olympic team every four years, and you only get one chance on one day to do it.

It was a challenge that Ryan had devoted his life to overcome.

“He was second to none in his drive to compete,” Notre Dame head cross country and track coach Joe Piane said. “He wasn’t as gifted (as other runners), but he made up for it with his work ethic.”

Ryan may not have achieved his goal of qualifying for the Olympics, but in dying on the course on Saturday, he fulfilled a different plan he had for himself.

“Ryan used to say that he’d ‘rather wear out than rust out,’” Joe Shay said.

“If he could script the end of his life, I don’t think he could have wanted it any better.

“Not many people get to end their life doing the things they love, and he did.”

The story of Pheidippides was resurrected in the late 19th century by the English poet Robert Browning, who writes, “Run, Pheidippides, one race more! … He flung down his shield / Ran like fire once more … Joy in his blood bursting his heart, — the bliss!”

Labels: ,