"A wise and frugal government which shall restrain men
from injuring one another, which shall leave them otherwise free to regulate their own pursuits of industry and improvement, and shall not take from the mouth of labor the bread it has earned. This is the sum of good government."
(Thomas Jefferson)

Wednesday, June 1, 2011

Sooner Women's Softball Honors Football Player Austin Box

As I was getting ready to do a post for today, I was reminded there is so much more than politics while reading the Norman Transcript.  We had a football player, Austin Box, overdose on pain medication recently and it puts everything in perspective about what is important in your life and how important it is to live your life to the fullest every day.

Today's post is more than about college athletics -- it is about the pain medicine that some people get hooked on that is prescribed by their doctor and requires bigger and bigger doses to ease the pain until something like this happens where someone accidentally overdoses because the pain is too much.  It doesn't have to be an athlete but can be anyone that starts taking more and more medicine for pain.  With all the advances in medicine, don't you think someone would come up with pain medication that isn't addictive and habit forming?

Rush Limbaugh was a perfect example as it took out his hearing for the most part and he faced charges for getting all his prescription medicine.  If you are in pain, some people will do anything to get relief from that pain.  As I put on our OU message board after we learned that Austin Box had died most likely due to an accidental overdose of pain medication, we don't walk in their shoes when it comes to pain so none of us know how we would react.  I blame the doctors that keep prescribing this medication and the fact there is no database to see if someone is doctor shopping to get prescriptions.

In today's environment we read so much about the 'privileged' athletes and very seldom about the athletes that are there for each other and don't expect something for nothing.  If you need an example of spoiled athletes, you can look no farther than what is happening with  Ohio State University where their football coach Tressel put winning above everything in his treatment of Pryor his quarterback and other players during his tenure.  He even cheated in his assistant days by rigging raffles when he was an assistant under Earl Bruce.  When you read the Sports Illustrated article about their quarterback Pryor, you are left with what is college athletics coming to?  Tressel was touted at Ohio State as this ethical, honest coach which couldn't be farther from the truth.  As one article summed it up, he held bible sessions in the morning and cheated in the afternoon.

Fortunately for college athletics there are only a few like Pryor and other OSU athletes along with USC and other schools who don't believe the rules are for them.  NCAA has a chance with this OSU investigation to finally level the hammer on a President who said that Tressel could fire him and an AD who looked the other way not to mention a compliance department that is suspect.

University of Oklahoma has been there with a former dumb quarterback and another player who took money for a job that they didn't work but claiming on their time cards they did.  Bomar's $15,000 seems peanuts to the scandal breaking at OSU.  Our Coach Bob Stoops removed those two from from the team right away even though Bomar was the starting quarterback and the season was going to start in a month.  OU has been under a microscope by the NCAA for a lot less violations and our coaches didn't lie to the NCAA like Tressel.  You are going to have kids in trouble who are athletes just like you do kids who are just regular students, but OSU has taken it to a whole new level with a coach who played his football players knowing some were ineligible for the whole season.  Guess he hoped he didn't get caught.  Now the NCAA is on the hook to bring sanctions to OSU that will be a warning to other schools to get their programs in order.

With all the press about Ohio State, Tressel, Pryor and a program out of control, it is refreshing to read an article like this in your local paper.  It restores your faith that there are a lot more college athletes who play by the rules along with coaches than there are cheaters.  Recently OU had nine football players and nine women's basketball players go to Haiti to help out.  It was sponsored by a local church not the University of Oklahoma.  Our Women's Softball Team is a perfect example of the closeness of so many teams at OU and other universities who day in and day out represent their teams with class.  They have come together to honor  Austin Box who loved baseball and softball.
In tribute to BoxBy Clay Horning The Norman Transcript
31 May 2012 
NORMAN — Following the death of Oklahoma linebacker Austin Box, who was found unresponsive in an El Reno home before being pronounced dead May 19 at Mercy Health Center in Oklahoma City, coach Patty Gasso’s Sooner softball team chose to honor Box by wearing his No. 12 on its batting helmets. 
The Sooners wore the No. 12-adorned helmets May 20-22 at the Norman Regional. The Sooners won the regional, earning a spot at the Tucson Super Regional against Arizona. 
Would they keep the number on their helmets for Tucson? Very possibly, but what they could not yet have known was just how personal their remembrance of Box was about to become. 
That process was set in motion. The day after the Sooners claimed the regional, Box’s mother, Gail, hand delivered a letter to Gasso, hoping it would be read to the team. 
“Part of the letter was just about him being an avid baseball fan and player and center fielder,” Gasso said, “and us having an angel in the outfield, and we were just very motivated and inspired by it.” 
Box may be better known as a schoolboy baseball legend than football legend in his hometown of Enid. Long a baseball town, Box led Enid’s American Legion Majors program to an American Legion World Series championship the summer before he arrived in Norman.
Upon being read the letter, the Sooners decided they would keep Box’s number on their helmets as long as their season continued. 
They also received the motivation and inspiration of knowing their play might give some comfort to a grieving family. 
“It was another inspiring fact for this team,” Gasso said, “that by playing softball, we may have been able to touch a family and maybe give them just a little bit of relief.” 
It motivated the Sooners to not only play well, but to also enjoy the process, which tends to make playing well easier. 
In addition to receiving the letter from the Box family, they were concerned about teammate Jessica Shults, who has been too ill to play. Also, the Sooners were mindful of many Oklahomans just beginning to pick up the pieces in the aftermath of a tornado’s destruction. 
“We really just kind of maturely understood that this should be a celebration of an opportunity to play,” Gasso said. 
They may well have had an angel in the outfield. OU beat Arizona in two-straight games, earning its first trip to the WCWS since 2004. Additionally, the Sooners’ success kept the Wildcats out of Oklahoma City’s Hall of Fame Stadium for just the second time in 24 seasons. 
OU begins its WCWS experience against Arizona State at 6 p.m. Thursday. 
Norman Transcript
Too many times stories like this get ignored for the scandals so I decided this wasn't going to be one of them.    

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