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A roundup of news on sporting events, people and places in Southeast Michigan by columnist Jim Evans.

Monday, September 26, 2011

Saying thanks to Josh Ripley

Does anyone know Josh Ripley’s home address?
I would like to send him a Thank You note.
Thanks for restoring my faith in the power of sports.
Thanks for restoring my faith in the goodness of people.
Thanks for showing the sportsmanship is not some mummified concept that is packed away in the basement of some natural history museum next to the stuffed saber tooth tiger and mastodon tusks.
Josh Ripley is a cross country runner for a high school in Minnesota.
During a recent race, he stopped to scoop up a badly injured competitor and carried him in his arms about a half-mile back to the starting line to his coaches and medical care.
That done, Ripley turned around and started the race anew.
There were about 260 other runners in the 5K event, and either nobody noticed Mark Paulauskas of Lakeville South High School bleeding profusely on the ground, or if they did, nobody reacted the way Ripley did.
“I had heard this scream, and as I rounded a corner, he came into view,” Ripley told Joel Siegel of ABC’s Good Morning America. “He was against a fence holding his ankle, and it was bleeding pretty badly. I picked him up and ran with him in my arms. I asked if I could say a prayer for him, and he said that was fine. And I just tried to reassure him that everything would be OK.”
The 6-5, 185-pound Ripley carried Paulauskas, who is 5-foot-5, 100 pounds, carefully in his arms.
I love uplifting stories like that.
I like them a lot more then the trash that goes on way too often in sports.
- Like the brawl that interrupted a youth league football game in Florida recently when coaches and even a player or two set upon a referee they disagreed with.  Police have filed charges against four people.
The August 27 game between two teams of 13- and 14-year-olds turned violent when one of the Sarasota Gators’ coaches came off the sideline and, according to the police, began verbally assaulting the referee, Jayme Ream, who then ended the game. The coach responded by throwing a water bottle at the ref, prompting other people to join the melee.
The brawl grew as people continued to come off the sideline, including a 14-year-old Gators player who tackled the ref to the ground. The referee fractured his shoulder in the fight.
- Or when crooked NBA referee Tim Donaghy revealed that he helped fix games to affect the point spread. He also provided insider information to members of organized crime to help them win bets.
- How about Danny Almonte who led the Rolando Paulino All-Stars from New York City to the Little League World Series, where he pitched a perfect game in leading his team to a third-place finish? Trouble was, he was 14 years old, two years older than the Little League age limit.
- Or Rosie Ruiz , who took the subway to nearly the end of the Boston Marathon route to “win” the prestigious event. Trouble was, people quickly realized 50-year-olds in your typical Pilates class sweat more than she did and absolutely nobody else on the course recalled seeing Ruiz running.
- How about Tonya Harding’s henchmen acting like wise guys from the Godfather flicks when they put a tire iron to Nancy Kerrigan’s knee a month before the start of the 1994 winter Olympics in Lillehammer?
Josh Ripley, center, running in a meet for Andover High School. (Jeff McKeefry)

There are countless other tales of scandal and scandalous behavior in sports. An  entire era of major league baseball tainted by more additives than are in your typical hotdog; high profile college sports programs and athletes bought and paid for by boosters (Strippers in Miami, tattoo artists in Columbus and a not-so-Fab Five in Ann Arbor to mention just a few); the Spanish basketball team that captured gold at the 2000 Paralympics with a roster made up mostly of non-disabled athletes.
The list of embarrassments goes on and on. That is why I’d like to send a Thank You note to Josh Ripley.
Mark Paulauskas was transported to the hospital, where doctors determined he had been accidentally spiked by another runner’s shoe. They gave him 20 stitches to close the gash.
“He just picked me up without saying anything and started carrying me and trying to calm me down. He said, ‘It’s going to be OK. I’m going to get you to your coaches,’” Paulauskas told Siegel.



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