Humbled to Play

Eddie Perez was watching a television in a room off the Atlanta bullpen when he heard a knock on the door. The Braves coach knew it was the home run ball he had just seen burst off the bat of a hometown prodigy taking his first swing in the big leagues. “When we were watching in there, we got excited and we hear pop!” says Perez, who sensed more than the usual fan celebration at Turner Field. “Everybody was going crazy. It was like the birth of a new star… Continue reading

From the Archives — Covered

In a controversial season for Alex Rodriguez because of his involvement in the Biogenesis case and his appeal to Major League Baseball, we dug up this story from our Summer 2009 issue about A-Rod’s teammate Andy Pettitte. Pettitte admitted in 2008 to using performance enhancing drugs; and his road to confession, forgiveness and redemption is chronicled in today’s archived story.

Read more here. Continue reading

Survival In Death Valley

The Badwater Ultramarathon has been recognized as the toughest footrace on the planet according to National Geographic magazine. From the starting line in the bowels of Death Valley, athletes traverse 135 miles with temperatures at 130 degrees or higher on scorching, 200-degree pavement with several elevation changes from sea level to the finish line high on Mt. Whitney.

Frank McKinney, real estate mogul, a 5-time, best-selling author… Continue reading

Japhet Korir

At 19 years old, Kenya’s Japhet Korir became the youngest senior men’s champion in the history of the IAAF World Cross Country Championships when he won the event this past March in Bydgoszcz, Poland. The humble Korir, who turned 20 on June 30, was not aware he was the youngest to have won the race. On the finish line, Korir showed his excitement with the news, “Ah okay!! I didn’t know I have the record.” Minutes before, he had floored defending champion Imane Merga of Ethiopia in spectacular style. Korir, who announced his desire to compete in the 5000m event for the World Athletics Championships, will have to be at his best when Kenya holds her national championships and trials in June and July. In the past, Kenya has produced even greater athletes in that distance. In order for Korir to make it on the Kenyan team for Moscow, he Read More

Oleg Maskaev — World Boxing Champion

Oleg, share your impressions about the last fight against Jason Gaverni. Even though I won this fight, but in fact was not an easy fight. I must say that I was not properly prepared for it. My manager, Fred Hash, who was involved in the preparation of this fight, died suddenly just before the fight. Therefore, the fact of death, as well as different organizational issues prevented me to go up to the highest form of combat. But I thank God that He gave me the victory. He saw my hard work and diligence, as well as all the problems that do not depend on me, and gave me the strength to not only survive against Gaverni and win, to which I have been so long…And I’m very grateful that there were many close people who supported me. There was also a friend of mine who throughout the fight prayed Read More

Belief Beyond Doubt

Tim Hudson was too preoccupied with his prep baseball career to take in many Braves games at Atlanta-Fulton County Stadium. But there he was in the stands two decades ago when it hit him—he just might have a future working off a major league mound. “I was a junior at the time,” he told Sports Spectrum during spring training. “I found myself actually thinking that I could play at that level one day. It seemed so much harder on TV. It’s so much faster on TV. When you watch it in person, it’s just like the game I played in my back yard. It was fun to imagine that. I just never realized it would happen.” When it did, Hudson understood his ability to pitch in the big leagues, and later his opportunity to do so for the team he loved growing up, were heaven sent. “It was God’s plan Read More

Running the Race Set Before Him

5:00 a.m. – Grab a snack, do devotions, leave for practice. 6:00 a.m. – Morning practice.* 7:30 a.m. – Eat breakfast. 8:00 a.m. – Make it to class. 9:10 a.m. – Chapel (Monday, Wednesday, Friday). 10:30 a.m. – 4:00 p.m. – Class and study. 4:00 p.m. – Afternoon practice.* 5:00 p.m. – End practice/stretch. 6:00 p.m. – Eat dinner. 7:00 p.m. – 8:45 p.m. – Do homework. 9:00 p.m. – Go to bed. *70-105 miles a week 48 weeks of the year For the average college kid, a weekly schedule like the one listed above is a far cry from being considered “normal”.  But, for the above-average Mustang cross country and track athlete John Gilbertson, that is the life he lives, and the life he loves. In fact, to him, that schedule is “normal.” “John Gilbertson is the type of guy who practices excellence in every area of life,” said Read More

From the Archives — Masterful Performance

With a 5-under 66 in the first round of The Open Championship at Muirfield, Zach Johnson has put himself in early contention to win his second major championship. Read our “From the Archives” story on Johnson after he won his first major in 2007…

For many golf fans, the final round of the Masters Tournament in Augusta, Georgia, is the high holy day of professional sports. It’s a chance to worship all things green and beautiful in the aptly named Cathedral of Golf.

But for 2007 champion Zach Johnson, his stunning victory on April 8, was a chance to win the most prestigious of golf tournaments, the Masters, while worshiping the true Master…

Click here to read the rest of our story on Zach Johnson from our July/August 2007 issue. Continue reading

Hurdling The Obstacles of Life

Pittsburgh Pirates manager Clint Hurdle exudes honesty and transparency and sets a high standard for himself on and off the field.

That’s not lost on his players, who he expects to live up to a high standard, as well.

“Every player is responsible and accountable to represent the name on the front (Pittsburgh) more than on the back,” says Hurdle, who has led the Pirates to two of their best first-half starts since winning the National League East in 1992. “Don’t take that for granted…” Continue reading

Sweet Song In San Fran

If you pitched Ryan Vogelsong’s story to a Hollywood producer, it would most likely end up in the reject pile with a hastily scribbled notation, “Too improbable to be believable!”

It’s a tale that involves a prospect drafted in the fifth round by the San Francisco Giants, an undistinguished five-year stint in the major leagues that produced a 10-22 record, and a ticket to Japan in an attempt to get back on track… Continue reading

Uncommon Challenge