Headlines » Sideline http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines The latest Headlines, news and blog posts from ABC News contributors and bloggers. Fri, 23 Jan 2015 16:55:28 +0000 en hourly 1 http://wordpress.org/?v=3.2.1 Namibia’s ‘Dog-headed Pig Monster’ Spurs Witchcraft Debate http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/02/dog-headed-pig-monster/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2012/02/dog-headed-pig-monster/#comments Tue, 28 Feb 2012 22:42:31 +0000 Bazi Kanani http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/?p=244792 What residents in a rural African village report about at a mysterious white beast with a doglike head and backside resembling a large swine is frightening.  Not because the creature will harm them, but because superstition and accusations surrounding the beast could lead them to harm each other.

“This must be the work of black magic,” an official in the Oshana region of northern Namibia told the Informante newspaper.

Regional Councilor Andreas Mundjindi said residents have spotted the beast chasing dogs and goats, and a young man said it tried to attack him as he walked home.

Several residents said they are now too scared to walk alone.  One theory has it that the beast may have come from the home of a local elderly man.

“Everyone believes it is his beast and even he knows that we think so,” an unnamed resident told Informante.

Accusations like that can have serious consequences in Namibia and throughout sub-Saharan African where elderly people are often accused of practicing the “old ways,” or witchcraft.  Thousands have been forced to flee for their lives, and many do not survive.  Across the continent, there are frequent reports of people accused of witchcraft being murdered by family members, neighbors or frenzied mobs.

“In most cases it is a quarrel or jealousy or just superstition that drives this,” said Phepsile Maseko of the Traditional Healers Organization based in South Africa.  ”When people are poor and uneducated they tend to focus on the witch hunt when there is any type of problem.”

Maseko said the widely-held belief in “black magic” in Africa can be a problem for her organization’s members who are sometimes accused of being “witch doctors” because they practice ancient, indigenous forms of medicine.

Maseko believes better education and more legal protections are needed to end witchcraft-related violence in Africa.  Until then, when strange things happen– or are just rumored to have happened– she fears more innocent people will be hurt.

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Par for the Course http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/07/par-for-the-cou/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/07/par-for-the-cou/#comments Wed, 30 Jul 2008 18:53:34 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/07/par-for-the-cou/ SOUTHPORT, England

Some random thoughts on covering my first golf event,  as I sit in an airport terminal, polishing off one final helping of fish and chips….

Leave it to a woman to descend upon one of the biggest events in men’s professional golf and wreak havoc.  That is precisely what happened here along the northern coast of England this past weekend during the British Open, when Mother Nature swept in with a vengeance, and battered everyone and everything in her path with cold rain and gusty winds.  But apparently this wild weather is part of the Open’s allure. The fight to score below par is just as daunting as the battle against the elements. The winds were so strong, that at one point I subconsciously reverted back to my days covering hurricanes for "Good Morning America," and actually started stockpiling provisions, should we need to hunker down….

Allow me to get in touch with my inner-female and talk fashion for just a moment. Watching the players compete along the course is fun. But watching the fans who attend the event is fascinating. Why? Because it’s like witnessing the grown-up version of playing “dress-up.”  Of the 200, 000 individuals who attended the event, my un-scientific estimate was that the majority [of men, at least] came out in full uniform…..from their crisp, white golf spikes and pressed, pleated pants, Cutter & Buck vests blanketed over their Ashworth shirts. Think about it for a second. This is the equivalent of showing up at Fenway Park dressed in full-uniform, or attending a hockey game with a helmet, pads, and skates.  But who knows, maybe there’s a reason for this? Should Phil Mickelson choke on the16th hole, perhaps he could call for a sub like they do in football and soccer, to take his place and finish off the round? 

I was skeptical at first, but after the Open was all said and done, it turned out that Tiger-less golf can be just as exciting as when the big kahuna himself is playing. You couldn’t have scripted it any better than this. In one corner, we had 53-year old golfing great, multi-millionaire Greg Norman…an imposing figure with steel blue eyes. Known for his “stare,” “The Shark” married his former best friend’s ex-wife, all-American tennis superstar Chris Evert three weeks prior to the event. He was battling head-to-head against last year’s winner Padraig Harrington, a skinny, humble Irishman….the loveable family-man, and fan favorite especially in this part of the word…who’s high-pitched voice reminded me of the Lucky Charms leprechaun. It was like Darth Vader vs Luke Skywalker. The Yankees vs the Marlins. Or better yet, the Laker(s) vs the Celtic(s). And this event ended much the same as the NBA Finals did…with the Celtic(s) on top.

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The Buzz from the Bee… http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/05/for-the-bees/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/05/for-the-bees/#comments Fri, 30 May 2008 17:56:36 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/05/for-the-bees/ WASHINGTON, D.C.

It’s 6am here in Washington, D.C, and the warm, spring sun is slowly starting to rise above the nation’s capitol. The windows of the White House are dark, and the leader of the free word is, no doubt, still asleep. But a few blocks away, inside the Hyatt Hotel, it’s buzzing with activity. Everywhere you look, colonies of little people are scattered about, tucked into every corner. They feverishly tear through big books, filled with even bigger words. A sense of excitement fills the air, along with a touch of urgency. These baby Einsteins are getting some last minute practice in, because today is the big game. The main event. The moment they’ve been preparing for all year.  Hours from now, they’ll take to the stage to compete in the 2008 Scripps National Spelling Bee.

Two-hundred and eighty-eight children between the ages of eight and fifteen arrived here earlier this week to compete in the popular event, now in its eighty-first year. The political propaganda that typically fills the air around here was replaced by an orchestra of adjectives and adverbs, nouns and pronouns. Upon receiving a word to spell, the kids act as detectives, verbally dissecting words and using clues like origin and meaning to solve the puzzle of how they’re spelled. After written tests and preliminary rounds were completed, the field was whittled down. Forty-five spellers remain, and tonight the last speller standing will be crowned the champion. This is the pinnacle of academic achievement for these students who have spent a full-year studying for this event.

Many people have wondered why the Bee is broadcast on ESPN (and ABC). The answer is simple. It is truly one of the greatest spectator “sports” on television, and a competition in every sense of the word. Ok, so instead of athletes, they’re more like math-letes, who possess little physical brawn, but enormous brains. And they take to the field…or stage, rather…they don their thinking caps instead of baseball hats. It’s an event where emotions run high, and pain runs deep. The pressure is intense, particularly when they’re up at bat, waiting for a word to spell. A swing and a miss can occasionally lead to an emotional outburst of tears. And a home run warrants high-fives all around. 

The competition even has its own version of an umpire….the big, bad, bell, that  transmits a noise nobody wants to hear. It only sounds when someone misspells a word, therefore knocking them out of the competition. One speller, 13-year old Josephine Kao, described hearing the bell as being stung by a bee. “It definitely hurts,” she told me. One of her competitors, Scott Remer, said he has grown to dislike the sound so much that even the elevators bells in our hotel make him cringe. 

At the end of the night, the last speller standing is presented with a big, shiny trophy. And, let me tell you, it pays to be smart. In addition to the hardware, the champ receives over $40,000 in cash and prizes. With the skyrocketing price of college, those dollars will no doubt come in handy.

Some of these kids are a bit quirky, while others are socially well-rounded. But one thing is certain – they are the most amazing young people you will ever meet. Honest, earnest, and driven…they are all-around great kids. And in a place like Washington, quality people are hard to come by sometimes.

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Teams Go Green… http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/04/even-sports-tea/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/04/even-sports-tea/#comments Tue, 22 Apr 2008 18:49:41 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/04/even-sports-tea/

BRISTOL, Connecticut

Whenever the word “green” was mentioned in the realm of professional sports…. it used to revolve around the substantial number of dollar bills being doled out to athletes.

Now, it’s a two pronged term. Yes, teams still overpay players, but at least they’re saving the planet at the same time.

Today, the Seattle Mariners will celebrate Earth Day before they even take to the field, by sponsoring Major League Baseball’s first carbon-neutral game. In addition to implementing a recycling program for paper, plastic, and food scraps, the team is purchasing “green” power credits to off-set their sizable carbon footprint. This money will fund renewable energy facilities – like wind farms – throughout the northwest. Based on calculations, one ballgame will apparently produce more than 230 tons of carbon dioxide. Contributing factors include flight travel for both teams and umpires, ground transportation for fans, electricity and natural gas used at the stadium, disposal or recycling of waste generated during the game. Mariners CEO Howard Lincoln stated, in a news release, “We know that just buying carbon offsets isn’t enough. This is not a one-time event for us.” Also today, the 2007 World Champion Boston Red Sox with be recognized during a pre-game ceremony for their environmental initiatives, which include the installation of solar powered trash compactors around Fenway Park, and solar panels that will soon help heat hot water.

Not to be outdone, the Washington Nationals have taken things one step forward, and opened their season at home last month in the nation’s first entirely green-built ballpark. Among the environmentally-friendly elements are low-flow plumbing, high-efficiency lighting, recycled building materials, and a 6300 square foot green roof covered with plants, that absorb rainwater, thus reducing runoff to a nearby river. Next up to bat is Citi Field, the NY Mets new stadium, set to open next year. It will feature, among other things, recycled steel beams, concrete made from coal combustion ash, energy and water conservation.

And in the state of New Jersey, home to some of the country’s worst air pollution, the NBA’s Nets did their part by holding a series of “Green Nights,” during which environmental organizations set up booths in the concourse area to educate fans – many of whom were in line for hot-dogs – on how to live a green life.  Like the Mariners, they held a carbon-neutral game earlier in the season. And what better way to grab people’s attention than hand out "free stuff?" Five-thousand fans walked away from a recent game with free compact fluorescent light-bulbs.

Of course, all of this is old news to the NFL’s Philadelphia Eagles, who were first out of the starting gate with their “go green” initiative, back in 2003. By purchasing renewable energy, tree planting programs, installing solar panels on their stadium, and recycling efforts, the team estimates that it has eliminated the greenhouse gas emissions of almost 1,800 automobiles, and saved 2,300 trees. Even team employees are getting in on the action – anyone who signs up for wind energy over conventional energy will be reimbursed for the cost difference.

Even some race cars now benefit from environmentally-friendly bio-fuel. When Indy car drivers push their pedal to the medal, it is ethanol, which is a byproduct of corn, and not gasoline, that make their cars reach speeds over 200 mph….which is the equivalent of driving the length of a football field in one second. 

All of this is a hop, skip, and a jump in the right direction, but remember, it is only the tip of the [melting] iceberg, and there is still a lot of work that needs to be done. Happy Earthday everyone.


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American Gladiators http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/01/american-gladia/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/01/american-gladia/#comments Wed, 09 Jan 2008 00:16:15 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2008/01/american-gladia/ BRISTOL, Connecticut

On Saturday night, I kicked back on the couch with a bowl of buttery popcorn, and turned my attention to the television, where I was about to witness an all-out battle.  Over the course of four, grueling hours, there were a number of knockout punches, plenty of low-blows, and even a few home-runs thrown in. What kind of sports spectacle was I watching? Boxing? No. Baseball? Not even close. American Gladiators? Mmm..very similar.  I watched the back-to-back presidential debates….which I consider to be the greatest non-contact competition on television. 

Both political parties took part in an intra-squad scrimmage, of sorts. Players on both teams battled it out before a crowd of hundreds…all of whom were crammed inside a chilly college auditorium in New Hampshire. Esteemed journalist Charlie Gibson – of ABC News – played the role of referee. Outside the arena, passionate fans from each team displayed colorful, cardboard signs in support of their favorite candidate. One might even assume there was tailgating in the parking lot…hmm…

From the first pitch, all of the players came out swinging. What started out as congenial conversations between Gibson and each candidate soon turned ugly……ultimately verbal bloodbaths broke out between all of them, much like a bench-clearing brawl between the Red Sox and Yankees.   

From that point on, there was no denying that the race for the White House had begun.

Overall, six republicans, followed by four democrats, took to the stage, all vying for a spot at the top. The front-runners are the all-stars of the team, outplaying anyone and everyone in their path. Without steroids, of course. 

The two democratic front-runners have already become full-fledged rivals. Think Celtics versus Lakers. Hillary Clinton displays the same gritty tenacity and fighting spirit of Larry Bird (although her blonde locks are a bit more coifed than his ever were). While Barack Obama, the new hot-shot on the political scene, oozes charisma and flashes an evervescent smile, much like that of Magic Johnson. Both democrats are giving it their all and are in it to win it, but there’s no mistaking their undeniable differences. 

It’s a similar story on the Republican side of things. Mitt Romney reminds me of Tom Brady. Both Massachusetts men are clean cut, good-looking, dress to impress, and have been extremely successful in their respective careers. Romney’s business exploits made him a millionaire many times over. He even managed to clean up the scandal plagued 2002 Salt Lake City Olympic Games. As for Tom Brady? Three SuperBowls in four years says it all. John McCain, on the other hand, plays the part of a grizzled veteran. He has been a part of the game for so many years, and suffered a slew of injuries along the way. And now he’s battling to become the main man. The head coach.

Much like the sport of figure skating, each candidate’s performance that night was determined by a panel of judges, or political pundits.

At the end of this ten month game called presidential politics, it’s up to the fans, or in this case, American citizens, to determine the final outcome once November rolls around. No doubt, it will be a fight to the finish.

May the best man – or woman – win.

Let’s play ball!

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State of the Skate http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/11/state-of-the-sk/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/11/state-of-the-sk/#comments Tue, 06 Nov 2007 17:48:02 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/11/state-of-the-sk/ QUEBEC CITY, Quebec

Covering the “Skate Canada” international figure skating competition this past weekend, I broke away from the action one night to stroll along the quaint, cobblestone streets of Quebec City. It wasn’t long before it dawned on me that there were no signs or banners advertising the event anywhere in sight. Surprising, considering that an athletic competition of this magnitude draws the cream of the crop figure skaters from around the world. The host city typically hypes an event by plastering posters on every street corner. Instead, I saw more signs publicizing yesterday’s NFL showdown between the New England Patriots and Indianapolis Colts….an event taking place in another country. It definitely sent a message about the state of skating in North America.

In a society that thrives on over-stimulation, skating has simply become un-cool. Television viewer-ship is down and arenas are half empty. The vast majority of those who do attend events are women with white hair.  Entities appealing to younger demographics now take the shape of ESPN’s ever-popular “X-Games”…which showcases sports like surfing, skateboarding, and snowboarding. Compared to its other action-packed counterparts, like football and basketball, skating operates at a slower pace, and is a bit outdated. Instead of spandex costumes covered in sequins, modern-day athletes favor baggy basketball shorts and flashy sneakers that cost more than my monthly car payment. And performances are often choreographed to classical music, instead of top-40 tunes. This year’s ice dancing theme is folk music.  Need I say more? When I was growing up, Olympic skaters Brian Boitano and Debbie Thomas were as “big” as Roger Clemens and Larry Bird in my mind. But today, my guess is that most kids would struggle to name a top ten skater.

It’s not a stretch to compare figure skating to, say, Michael Jackson. Trust me on this one, it’s not as crazy a comparison as it sounds. Both were “hot” in the 1980’s and early 90’s. People wanted to be them. Act like them. Dress like them. And then scandal struck. For figure skating, it was the Tonya Harding/Nancy Kerrigan “whack on the knee” saga before the 1994 Olympic Games. As for Jacko, his downfall came amidst child sex-abuse allegations in 2005. Today, neither figure skating nor Michael Jackson have been able to stage a comeback.

But is it fair to figure skaters to simply ignore their sport? I must admit that, at times, my eyes tend to glaze over when I watch skating. But I do respect the athletes, and the rigorous training they must endure to “make it” in the sport. Some, like 2006 Olympian Emily Hughes, even manage to balance skating with studying…she’s a freshman at Harvard this year. How many other competitive athletes at her level do this?  Only a select few, like Michelle Kwan, bank big bucks. Most just hope to cover training and travel expenses…many go into deep debt. So why do they sacrifice so much? They do it for the love of the game. How many of today’s athletes can say the same? Maybe it’s time for figure skating to update their sport, so it can appeal to younger generations, who can carry the flame….and prevent it from extinguishing altogether.

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An Ode to Boston http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/10/an-ode-to-bosto/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/10/an-ode-to-bosto/#comments Wed, 24 Oct 2007 19:59:49 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/10/an-ode-to-bosto/ BRISTOL, Connecticut

Yesterday’s New York Times declared October, 2007 as "Heaven in New England."

And to tell you the truth, I couldn’t agree more.

In the interest of full-disclosure, I must admit to the fact that I am a lifelong Boston sports fan, sticking by my hometown teams through thick and thin, heartache and heartbreak, and annually uttering the phrase that is instilled into every Bostonian at birth – "this could be the year."

The Boston Red Sox, who, for 86 years, until their 2004 Championship, were looked upon as the bridesmaids of baseball, enter the World Series tonight as the 2-1 favorites against the Colorado Rockies. The Bo-Sox are looking to end their three-year drought without a title. Three years? Who would have ever thought?

The New England Patriots are undefeated, unstoppable, and the undeniable favorites to go all the way this year…led by heart-throb, quarterback Tom Brady, who Esquire Magazine recently dubbed the "Best Dressed Man in the World." Because of him, the roles in some households are now reversed, with women asking their husbands, "are you ready for some football?"

And the Boston Celtics are kicking off their season with more promise than the parquet floor has witnessed in decades, with Paul Pierce, Kevin Garnett, and Ray Allen being hailed as the new Big Three….gracing the cover of this week’s Sports Illustrated, before even playing in a regular season game together.

Some Bostonians have deemed this resurgence of prosperity amongst our sports teams as the ultimate reward after decades of disappointment. But this is unfamiliar territory for us. And some, it seems, can hardly contain themselves.  After cheering on their football heroes in Miami against the Dolphins last Sunday, the majority of the crowd, who were incidentally decked out in Patriots blue, started chanting "Let’s go Red Sox" as the 49-28 blowout came to a close.

It’s inevitable that every successful season brings out those who hop onboard the bandwagon. These are the same people who suddenly develop a Boston accent by watching "Fever Pitch" for the first time, or eating Brigham’s "Reverse the Curse" Ice Cream.

The latest passenger to throw his hat into the ring is none other than 2008 Presidential candidate Rudy Giuliani, who yesterday announced his candidacy to become a member of Red Sox Nation. This is the same former Mayor of New York, who has a sign on his desk that reads, "Yankee Fan-In-Chief." The New York Post, for one, is having a field day. This morning’s front page featured the headlines "Rudy the Yankee Flipper: Mass-Kisser Roots for Red Sox." Ironically enough, the Republican dropped the bombshell while campaigning across the Democratic hot-bed of Massachusetts, giving strength to the claim that this is all just a political ploy. But Giuliani insists he simply wants to "root for the American League team in the World Series." How patriotic of him.

But everyone loves a winner, right?

Especially this journalist, who is sure to root on her Red Sox tonight…in an unbiased fashion, of course.
 

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Boys Behaving Badly http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/09/boys-behaving-b/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/09/boys-behaving-b/#comments Mon, 17 Sep 2007 21:01:59 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/09/boys-behaving-b/ BRISTOL, Connecticut

Cheating is bad. But losing is worse. That’s a common sentiment shared by many teams across the spectrum of professional sports these days.

Athletes once claimed they played for the love of the game. And we believed them. But, as tennis great Martina Navratilova once stated, “Whoever said ‘It’s not whether you win or lose that counts,’ probably lost.”

These days, athletes have a win-at-all-costs mindset. So, why go to great lengths in order to attain superstardom status? Because victory comes hand in hand with fame, glory, and, most of all, endless financial incentives in the form of endorsements.

What effect does this do-or-die mentality have on the average fan?

I went to bed on Sunday night, pumped up, after my beloved New England Patriots crushed the New York Jets, giving them their first win of the season. Eight hours later, I felt a knot in my stomach, as I watched SportsCenter detail allegations that the Pats; winners of three Super Bowls in four years; had cheated by stealing secret signals from the opposing team via videotaping.

I was outraged. I felt betrayed. It was almost like a beloved boyfriend had cheated on me. This once-squeaky-clean team had committed the ultimate sin in sports. For the current season, they arguably have the strongest roster in the NFL. So, why did they feel the need to cheat?

The Patriots incident is only the latest in a long string of mishaps this past summer.

The sports section of the newspaper reads more like a crime blotter. Tennessee Titans cornerback PacMan Jones showered 40 strippers with dollar bills this past summer; sparking a triple shooting outside a Las Vegas nightclub. Charges against him are pending, and he is suspended for the entire season.

Instead of dogging the opposing defensive line, Atlanta Falcons quarterback Michael Vick was charged with committing heinous crimes against man’s best friend for his involvement in a dogfighting operation. He currently awaits sentencing.

And don’t forget the world of hoops, which was dominated by hoopla over the past few months. NBA referee Tim Donaghy, who gets paid to enforce rules on the court, had broken them off of it by gambling on different teams.

Are the Patriots the only team in the NFL to turn to illegal measures to win? Absolutely not. Is there cheating in other sports besides football? You better believe it.

From modern-day doping in sports like baseball, to the robust history of performance-enhancing drugs in cycling, nothing seems clean anymore.

Like it or not, cheating has been around since the dawn of sports. The question is, however, what is criminal activity, and what warrants fans to look the other way? You need only travel across the city of Boston for more examples.

In the 1970s, the late, great, Boston Celtics general manager Red Auerbach was legendary for shutting off the heat and hot water in the Boston Garden locker rooms of visiting teams during the frigid Boston winters.

And, during the 1981 Eastern Conference Finals, the Philadelphia 76ers allowed CBS to turn a camera inside their timeout huddles. So, the Celtics, knowing this type of intel was invaluable, sent a bellboy into their locker room before every timeout to watch the TV, in order to know what their opponents were planning. He would then run out and alert the team.

Are these incidents as bad as Barry Bonds being accused of steroid use? And is steroid considered as bad as points shaving?

This epidemic of boys behaving badly begs the question: what about the women?

Our American girls are going for gold oversees in China right now, competing in the Women’s World Cup of soccer; a group of talented athletes who reign superior in their sport, with no wrap sheet among them. They endure tough training camps, surviving off of stipends.

Endorsements are far and few between when it comes to women’s professional sports, and so, as badly as they want to win, it all may just be for the love of the game.

Imagine that!

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A Different Kind of “Team” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/08/a-different-kin/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/08/a-different-kin/#comments Mon, 06 Aug 2007 20:13:54 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/08/a-different-kin/ BRISTOL, Connecticut

I consider “sport” to be a metaphor for “life.” All of us face opponents, both big and small, at any given time.  Some we tackle solo, while others involve a team effort.  And in the end, there are those that conquer and come out victorious, and others who are defeated by the challenges they face.

Last week my former colleague, and friend, “Good Morning America” co-anchor Robin Roberts, bravely revealed to viewers that she is facing her biggest, most frightening foe….breast cancer. The former college-basketball star is once again a rookie, this time thrust onto a team of women who suffer from the same disease….over 200,000 will be diagnosed this year alone. Breast cancer survivors make up a powerful network that rivals even the biggest and best teams in all of sports. Many become advocates and lend their voice to those that don’t have one. Others rally around their comrades and shower them with support in every way, shape, and form….to try and help each individual come out a “winner.”  Robin has alread received an overwhelming number of encouraging letters and emails. She has never met the majority of those who have written, which is a testament to what a “team” is all about. Today she posted the following message on ABCNews.com: "I have truly been touched by your e-mails and messages of support… I am incredibly grateful that my surgery went well Friday. Thanks for all the prayers – I owe you big time! Thank you for sharing your stories. You inspire me more than you could possibly know. My family and I are eternally grateful."

One of Robin’s new “teammates” is North Carolina State women’s basketball coach Kay Yow, a mutual friend of ours. A Basketball Hall of Fame inductee, Kay has accomplished more than most in her line of work. She is a fighter…a competitor….and a breast cancer sufferer. She once again finds herself is in the fight of her life, giving it her all, determined to conquer this deadly disease. Kay has instilled these qualities into the young women she coaches. This has made them better players. And people.

When I asked Kay about the range of emotions she has experienced while battling what is now her second bout with breast cancer, one thing is for certain….attitude is everything. She explains: “From the time I was first diagnosed I realized that, Kay, don’t wallow in self pity,” she said. “You’ll drown. Don’t wallow, but we’re human, it’s ok to have some pity, but swish your feet and get out. Attitude is a choice. We have zero percent control over what happens to us. I feel like I had zero control over getting cancer. But the good news is I have one hundred percent control over how I will respond to dealing with cancer. That’s when the ball is passed to me. I’m dealing with something tough. But I have the opportunity to learn things I never would have learned without going through this. I just have to be aware and alert and don’t miss it. That’s the thing that I don’t want to miss, what I can take from this, that would not only help myself to help other people. In every challenge there’s a great opportunity. And I know that from sports. I’ve been in sports all my life. I’m battling the greatest opponent. Even the home court of my arch rival is nothing compared to this. But the same feelings, that same determination, that same drive, everything about sports, these are the same feelings I have against this opponent.”

Both Robin and Kay are mentally tough, and spiritually strong….two necessary tools to help them come out on top. And if they need a pick-me-up, there are thousands of “teammates” who have got their back.

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Do the “Queue” http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/07/do-the-queue/ http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/07/do-the-queue/#comments Thu, 05 Jul 2007 13:25:17 +0000 Alexa Pozniak http://abcnews.go.com/blogs/headlines/2007/07/do-the-queue/ WIMBLEDON, England

I hate waiting in line. It’s as painful as listening to Paris Hilton give an interview…guaranteed to make me insane in under a minute.  With that being said, you can imagine the look on my face as I strolled out of the All England Club on this unseasonably cold summer night, and encountered a colorful crowd lined up along the road that runs parallel to the venue. The majority of tickets to Wimbledon are typically sold to coporate sponsors or members of high society. So if the "common folk" want to sit in the stands….the thing to do is “queue.”

Tents are set-up on the sidewalk for as far as I can see. This is serious stuff. An estimated two-thousand people queue up each night during Wimbledon; thousands more queue during the day. Approximately five-hundred tickets for centre court and court one are available each day for the first nine days. A further six-thousand ground tickets for outside courts are available each day.

Some read books to pass the time, others play board-games. Many arrive armed with a bevy of beer…and a few even fire up the old "barby." The bobbies dressed in black who patrol the street at night say the majority are well-behaved. But in order to queue, you have to play by the rules. Tents are allowed to be set-up an hour after the gates shut (usually around (9:30pm)….and wakeup is at 6:30am sharp, when everything must be packed back up again.  But why put yourself through this, and endure an excruciatingly long wait, when you can just watch Wimbledon on tv?

“It’s the experience, the atmosphere,” said Beth Howe, who had settled into line around 2pm with three of her closest friends, all of whom were sitting in a circle, flipping through a collection of British tabloids. When I told her that some people (i.e. “me”) might consider her crazy for waiting in line all night….she shot back, “You’d be crazy not to do this. Wimbledon is a British institution. And queue’ing is an tradition” One of her accomplices, Kate Darch, was eighteen years old when she first “queue’d.” Ten years later she’s back for more, with big plans once she sets foot onto the hallowed grounds:  “Center Court…that’s our goal. Especially with Andy Roddick and Roger Federer playing….they are definitely worth the wait.”

This time-honored tradition attracts all ages. And sometimes you to look at things through the eyes of a child to understand the fun in it. "You get to stay up late and eat junkfood," says nine-year old Emma Moolman. She goes on to explain that she is an aspiring tennis player…and likes what she sees in Roger Federer. “He has good technique and he doesn’t lose his temper,” she says with conviction. Her mom, Jacomin, reveals, “it’s not very posh to queue.” She kept it a secret from her friends until she was caught red-handed, when one of them happened to walk right past her, as she was setting up her tent on the sidewalk.

It dawned on me that Americans actually queue quite often. The most recent episode involved the iphone. Some fanatics waited in line for a week….to be among the first to buy this highly-coveted piece of technology. Being a big fan of Apple toys myself, I wondered if I would ever succumb to the temptation and join in on the frenzy?” Well….maybe. But it would still be as painful as a Paris Hilton interview. Hey wait, I bet she doesn’t have to wait in line…..

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