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The putt only covered 15 feet, but it seemed more like 100 to the gallery gathered at the eighteenth hole at Pinehurst No. 2 on that early Sunday evening in June 1999. It traveled uphill, broke ever so slightly to the right...and slipped gently into the cup. Payne Stewart, wearing his trademark knickers and argyle socks, hoisted the ball up to the heavens. The crowd roared. And for the second time in his career, Stewart was crowned champion of the U.S. Open--the most prestigious event for American golfers. The victory would be his last on the PGA Tour. Four months later, on October 25, 1999, Payne Stewart entered the gates of heaven after his private jet plowed into a dirt field in Minot, South Dakota, taking the lives of Stewart and three business associates. His death at only 42 years old shook the golf world and the entire nation...

Randy Johnson. Just the mention of his name elicits a collection of defeated, almost fearful responses from major league hitters. Some shake their head and laugh nervously. Others ponder their fate for a moment...then shrug their shoulders in resignation. Still others take a deep breath and slowly exhale as if they've narrowly escaped death. Remember the 1993 All-Star Game? The always colorful, left-handed hitting John Kruk stepped in to face Johnson. The 6-foot-10 inch southpaw promptly sailed a fastball over the first baseman's head. That's all Kruk needed. He was finished. He was transformed into a wide-eyed little leaguer batting for the first time as he bailed...

Yawn...yawn. Seemingly just another day at the office for point guard Steve Alford. The smooth 6-foot-2 senior led Indiana University to the National Collegiate Athletic Association basketball championship this season, averaging 22 points a game. But his fluid movements on the floor belie the effort and diligence away from the camera that went into his contributions toward the team's national title. Alford ended his career as the Hoosiers' four-time Most Valuable Player. He finished as the number 2 all-time scorer in the Big 10 Conference--a mere deuce behind Michigan's Mike McGee... To read our story on Hoosiers star and recently-named UCLA head coach Steve Alford from our Volume 1, Number 3 issue, click here.

It doesn’t matter that I know he survived. It doesn’t matter that I know he made it. As I sit here in my office and re-watch world-renowned aerialist Nik Wallenda’s 22-minute high-wire walk over the Grand Canyon from June, I’m sure it looks more like I’m back in my high school Health & Wellness class watching a video about child birth—nervously peeking through my fingers, feeling somewhat queasy, wanting it all to be over so I can breathe again, and, like Wallenda, saying to myself...

Dehydration. Kidney failure. Liver failure. Rapid weight loss. Job loss. All were part of a whirlwind of bad news for Seattle Seahawks fullback Michael Robinson. And though the seeming chaos would likely have been too much to handle for most, Robinson never feared in the midst of his trial. Jump back to the morning of August 17, just before Seattle was to host a preseason game against the Denver Broncos, the same Super Bowl XLVIII opponent of the Seahawks...

Protecting Peyton Manning, one of the greatest NFL quarterbacks in history, doesn’t come without bumps in the road. For Winston Justice, those bumps have been numerous. His storybook ascension started in high school, when Winston Justice started making his own decisions. Raised a Jehovah’s Witness, Justice defied his denomination’s edict to avoid organized athletics because it would expose children to “unwholesome associations” and started playing football when he was 16...

I have an odd recollection of names like Joe DiMaggio, Stan Musial, Ted Williams and other baseball greats from the 1940s, 50s and early 60s, even though I was born well after they played the game. Sure, I remember watching 1970s greats like Mike Schmidt, Tom Seaver, Willie Stargell, Reggie Jackson, and Nolan Ryan play on TV, where I also saw the Big Red Machine, the “We Are Family” Pittsburgh Pirates and the New York Yankees and Los Angeles Dodgers in those great World Series match ups...

Since being awarded the National League MVP in November, Pittsburgh Pirates star Andrew McCutchen gets the questions all the time. What’s the key to success? How did you get the MVP? What makes you so calm and confident?

Taylor Morton was a 14-year-old boy, innocent and impressionable, athletic and adventurous, a typical eighth grader whose biggest concern was sports…then maybe school…then maybe girls, whatever “girls” were. It was an Alabama April. Soon, school would be over. Soon, it would be summer. These were the summers of their youth that Taylor and his two younger brothers, Trent (12) and TJ (8) loved to conquer...

The player with the most improbable road to the NFL has a life so diverse that even a comic book would have difficulty capturing the superhero-like life of Israel Idonije. Born in Lagos, Nigeria, to missionaries on Nov. 17, 1980, Idonije (pronounced eh-don-ish-aye) moved with his family to Brandon, Manitoba in Canada when he was four years old. His father, Henry, served the homeless and poor in Manitoba, modeling the life Israel now leads by serving people on two continents and in three countries as he helps others in the U.S., Canada and Nigeria through the Israel Idonije Foundation...

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