Cover Story — Beyond A Super Bowl

Somewhere in this wacky, Super Bowl Media Day circus are lessons to be learned.

This is what I try to say to myself as a superhero from Nickelodeon challenges Russell Wilson to a staring contest; a striped Waldo is wandering around and members of the media are actually interviewing him; a guy from VH1 is wearing an old, colonial outfit, or something with a bib, and I picture us having an epic sword fight that makes its way onto Pete Carroll’s podium… Continue reading

The Mind of McCutchen

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? Continue reading

Life ‘Til Gain

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… Continue reading

Peace In The Walls

The office in Steve Smith’s Charlotte, N.C., home could pass as a closet in the Sistine Chapel, the arched ceiling painted in a greenish hue, clouds bleeding onto the woodwork, angels appearing to descend from their universe, a biblical story in each corner.

The front left corner is a painting of Eve leaning against Adam in the Garden of Eden, representing Smith’s renewed relationship with his wife, Angie. The back left corner is of the Good Samaritan, representing Smith’s heartbeat for Samaritan’s Feet, a ministry that provides shoes for millions around the world… Continue reading

Unfazed

Texas A&M head coach Billy Kennedy and his assistant coach, Mitch Cole, are in the team film room.

Kennedy sits in the middle of the room, its theatre-seating funneling toward the screen in front of them, tables running across each row, black-and-white A&M basketball photos and inspirational quotes plastered on the side walls. Kennedy’s plastic plate from lunch, littered with crumbs and a banana peel, is sitting on the table, as he casually leans back in his chair… Continue reading

From Puppet to Platform

Dylan Thompson had strings.

He moved the right way. He said the right things. He danced across the stage and nailed his lines. He was a shell of a man, a marionette that moved but had no life inside.

One day, the strings broke, his body fell, and he lay all twisted up and lifeless on stage.

The lights went down. And the curtains closed… Continue reading

Love Like Mountains

A reporter asks Derek McCartney if he has anything else to say.

He pauses, and thinks.

“I guess I just have one request,” he says.

“Yeah,” says the reporter.

“In the past, when people have done articles on my family, they have described me and T.C. as ‘half-brothers…’” Continue reading

Faith Looks Forward

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility.

It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of its gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp… Continue reading

Faith Looks Forward

Mason Plumlee looks out over the floor at Duke University’s practice facility.

It must be weird to be back—returning to campus, his home for the last four years; visiting Cameron Indoor, Duke’s 2010 national championship banner hanging in the rafters of this gymnasium that feels more like a cathedral, with its wooden steeple doors and castle-stone exterior; and sitting here in Duke’s practice facility where his new team, the Brooklyn Nets, are having training camp… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge