Wednesday, July 17, 2013

Jimmy V

The ESPY Awards are being presented tonight. They're basically celebration of sports. I haven't watched them in years, though I did see a notice for them today, which made me at least look at who was up for awards this year.

There's a sad, sad lack of Boston pro athletes and teams on that list. But I do take a little comfort in several mentions of Louisville athletics. It's something, anyway.

But what it also made me think of was Jimmy V. This year is the 20th anniversary of Jim Valvano's moving speech at the ESPYs (back when it was shown in March).

If you've never seen it, or you haven't seen it in a while, it's worth a look.

Valvano is sick. His cancer was spreading fast, and he could barely get out of bed that day to receive the Arthur Ashe Courage Award. But the crowd gave him strength. His 3 minute speech went on for 10 minutes (he ignores the 30 second warning in classic fashion). He tells a very funny story, and he gives advice for living a full life: Every day, do three things -- laugh, think, and cry. It's advice that I still think about.

And he announced the formation of The V Foundation for Cancer Research, which has given away millions of dollars to cancer researchers to study a wide variety of cancer-related problems, including several dealing with lymphoma.

(By the way, this year's Arthur Ashe Courage Award winner is Robin Roberts -- an all-time great in basketball at her alma mater, Southeastern Louisiana University, and one of the first female anchors on ESPN's Sports Center, and, of course, cancer survivor.)

So good luck to whoever is up for an ESPY. May you use your fame for the good.

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