Tag Archives: Extol Sports


2018 Imagine Awards

(Left to right) Stephen Walker, Tom Nunn, writer Jeff Nunn
and Kevin Blair, winners of the annual Sigma Phi Epsilon
Alumni Golf Scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Course in 2016.
Or maybe it was 2017. Either way, they won both.

Learning to Enjoy Golf with Age

(Left to right) Stephen Walker, Tom Nunn, writer Jeff Nunn and Kevin Blair, winners of the annual Sigma Phi Epsilon Alumni Golf Scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Course in 2016. Or maybe it was 2017. Either way, they won both.

(Left to right) Stephen Walker, Tom Nunn, writer Jeff Nunn
and Kevin Blair, winners of the annual Sigma Phi Epsilon
Alumni Golf Scramble at Eagle Creek Golf Course in 2016.
Or maybe it was 2017. Either way, they won both.

By Jeff Nunn of CardinalSportsZone.com

When I was in my twenties, I would show up at the

course about 10 minutes prior to my tee time, rush

into the clubhouse, pay my green fees, hop on a cart,

pull up to the first tee, take two practice swings and

then swing out of my shoes as I tried to smash the

ball down the fairway.

Well, as they say, “I ain’t as young as I once was.”

I’m not exactly old enough for the senior tour, but I’m

not getting any younger, and my body will sometimes

remind me of it, especially after a long day on the

golf course under hot conditions. Yes, my body has

changed and so must my game and preparation. But

that doesn’t mean I can’t continue to enjoy the

game that I love. I just have to be smarter and

willing to adapt.

Now, I arrive at the course about an hour prior

to my tee time. I head over to the driving range

where I stretch before hitting a small bucket of

balls to help warm up my muscles. Once I’m

warmed up, I head back to the clubhouse where

I purchase a water or Gatorade to take with me

on the course. I have to stay hydrated. I also grab

a snack to tuck away in my bag for later in the

round. Then, I get out the sun screen and apply

generously. Depending on the conditions, I may

also apply a little bug spray. The last thing I do

before I tee off is pop open my bottle of Aleve

and take two. I know I am going to encounter

some aches and pains somewhere within my round,

so I take this preventative measure.

Getting older and losing physical strength, balance,

eye-hand coordination and flexibility doesn’t have

to hinder your ability to play and enjoy golf. Like me,

you have to change your routine and be willing to

admit that some courses, equipment and situations

are no longer suitable for you.

Picking the right course for you is very important

for your enjoyment. In your younger days, the more

challenging the course, the more fun you could

have. Hitting long shots over water or hitting up to

By Jeff Nunn of CardinalSportsZone.com

elevated greens seemed like a challenge and a lot of

fun. Hitting out of a deep green-side bunker was fun

and interesting. Now, you worry more about getting

yourself out of the bunker rather than the ball – and

that doesn’t seem enjoyable. So, be very aware of the

course you choose. If there are multiple shots where

you must carry the ball about 175 yards over a hazard

or the majority of the greens do not allow a run up

shot, then you might want to think about choosing

a different course.

Another thing to help you choose a good course

that is suitable for your game is to take the total length

of a good drive for you and multiple that by 28. That

will give you the yardage of a course that will be a lot

of fun to play: not too hard, not too easy.

Once you find courses that are more enjoyable

for your game, you may also need to change the tees

you hit from. As you get older, you won’t be able to

hit the ball as far, so moving up a set of tees can only

help your enjoyment. Having people see you hitting

from the pro tees doesn’t impress them, especially

when you only hit the ball 200 yards, leaving yourself

a 3-wood shot into a par 4. Move up to the white tees,

or if you are a senior, don’t be afraid to move up to

the senior tees. They are there for a reason, so use

them if you qualify. An enjoyable round means you

should be hitting a mid-iron into a green on a par 4,

so put yourself into position to do so. After all, this

game is supposed to be fun.

Your equipment may need to change as your

game changes. The advancements in equipment are

incredible. The technology of the new drivers and

balls are crazy and has helped maintain distance

despite your decreasing club-head speed. Irons, on

the other hand, are slowly being replaced with hybrid

clubs. As you lose distance with your longer irons, you

can start replacing them with the new hybrid clubs.

Putting a set of irons in your bag that are more

forgiving can help as your ball striking becomes

less consistent. Putting graphite shafts in your

irons is a good idea because they are lighter and

can help with swing speed. Also, putting bigger

grips on your clubs can help with decreased grip

strength and aching hands or wrists.

Be smart about the conditions you play in.

In my younger days, I would say, “The hotter,

the better.” Now, not so much. I get much more

enjoyment playing in partly-cloudy conditions

in the 75 to 80 degree range. And when a good

rain storm popped up, I used to consider that

a challenge. Now, I call it time to head to the

clubhouse. Everyone has different likes, but

when the conditions reach a point that it’s no longer

enjoyable, why keep playing? Playing when your

heart is not fully committed can lead to injury and

nobody wants to get hurt.

No matter if Father Time is calling or he called

years ago, you can still play golf and enjoy it. You just

have to realize you now have physical limitations, and

you must adjust for them. Everyone is different and

everyone’s body changes and reacts in different ways.

You just have to find tips, tricks and adjustments that

work for you. As Raymond Floyd said: “Golf is a game,

and games are meant to be enjoyed.” I couldn’t agree

more. Good luck and hit’em straight!


Aiming for a Perfect Round of Health

screen-shot-2018-03-07-at-10-00-18-amWith every sport comes the risk for

injury. Jeffrey S. Stephenson, M.D., sports

health physician with Norton Orthopedic

Specialists, treats athletes and has seen

it all. He shared the most common golfrelated

injuries and steps you can take to

play pain-free this season.

Lower Back Injuries

Hopefully this golf season, the only back that

needs fixing has to do with your backswing. The

most common golf-related injuries involve the

lower back. The back is more engaged in the game

than you might think. It comes into play during

the rotation in your golf swing.

“The transition when you take your arms back

to swing through – your power from your upper

body – is linked to your lower body through the

core musculature,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Injury prevention measures: Your core and

lower back work together to help you power

through your swing. That’s why it’s important to

build the foundation for a strong core.

“You can’t have a weak lower back and expect

to be able to play golf on a regular basis,” Dr.

Stephenson said.

He suggests a regimen of isometric exercises

to help strengthen the back, such as low back

extensions and crunches. An active warm-up

ahead of your round of golf also is very important.

Elbow Injuries

“There are a lot of gripping mechanics that have

to happen to be able to get a golf club through

the ball and hit a ball consistently well, which

can cause elbow injuries,” Dr. Stephenson said.

“Golfer’s elbow” is a common overuse injury to

the soft tissue in the tendon or the medial elbow.

This injury can happen with repetitive swinging

of the golf club.

Injury prevention measures: Stretch the affected

tendons through simple wrist stretching exercises.

It’s also important to make sure you are swinging


“If you are concerned that you are having

consistent pain with your swing, it may be

worthwhile to have your swing checked out by a

golf professional,” Dr. Stephenson said. “If there

are certain mechanical issues with your swing, it

makes you more susceptible to injury.”

He says many elbow injuries are caused by

hitting the club into the ground, which can put

strain on the tendons.

Shoulder Injuries

Your golf swing could cause strains, pain and

inflammation in your shoulder. The most common

shoulder injury is rotator cuff impingement,

which is inflammation around the rotator cuff

tendons. The rotator cuff is made up of muscles

and tendons that help stabilize the ball and socket

joint of the shoulder.

“You can get inflammation around those

tendons, which causes an impingement and

can be painful,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Injury prevention measures: The best way to

prevent a golf-related shoulder injury is to establish

a good warm-up routine.

“Take the time to carefully swing through the

club, rather than stepping right onto the course

to begin your round,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Knee Injuries

Golfing and walking along uneven surfaces on

a golf course can pose a hazard to knees.

“Those potential hazards are the twisting and

turning that can lead to meniscus tears in the

knee,” Dr. Stephenson said.

Injury prevention measures: Be mindful of

where you are stepping on the course and make

sure you have good swing mechanics in place. If

you’re not so sure about your swing, enlist the

help of a golf professional to help you perfect

your swing.


Editor’s Note | March 2018

By Angie Fenton


Depending on which statistics you go by, less than 1 percent of us

will ever complete a marathon. Paul Erway, who is featured on our

cover, has completed 50 in 50 states in 50 weeks. As impressive

as that is – and it is undeniably impressive – that’s not what struck

me most about his story, which was written by writer Steve Kaufman

(you can find it on page 16).

It’s one thing to share a tale of physical resolve, but Paul also was

candid about the pitfalls and harsh challenges, including the moment

when he contemplated ending it all. Admitting this out loud and

allowing yourself to be vulnerable enough to do so takes strength.

That is what struck me the most about Paul’s story, his willingness to

be so candid about enduring such despair and the remarkable way

he was able to pull himself out of it by reaching out to help others

as he also developed into a phenomenal athlete. I encourage you

to not only read his story but also read his book.

In the January issue of Extol Sports, we featured Brad Luttrell,

co-founder and CEO of GoWild, an app for people who love the

outdoors. Thanks to the popularity, Brad recently left his job at

OOHology to focus full-time on GoWild. “This app has taken off

faster than I ever imagined,“ said Brad when I asked for an update.

“We’ve slowed our marketing efforts down and are still adding 80

people per day to the app. With revenue up 500 percent so far this

year, and a lot of advertiser inquiries coming in, I just felt that if I

was ever going to give this thing my full attention, this was it. I’m so

grateful for all of the people who have helped GoWild so far, from my

family to my team at OOHology to our investors. It’s been an exciting

and wild ride thus far. Here’s to what’s next.” Congratulations to the

GoWild team and here’s to their continued success!


Humble Warrior

Photos and Story by Miranda McDonald


A Program That’s Giving Back

Micah Cargin has been practicing yoga for

himself for almost a decade. However, with the

launch of his youth program, Humble Warrior,

he will be using his knowledge of this practice

to give back to the local community.

“I always knew I wanted to give back to the

community in some way. Giving back to those

in need is something my family engrained in me

from an early age,” states Cargin as he unrolls his

yoga mat onto the wooden floor at KMAC. We are

at the local museum to talk about the launch of

Humble Warrior, and to photograph him practicing

yoga in the beautiful space.

Humble Warrior is a program that will work with

community centers and organizations to introduce

youth in economically-depressed areas to yoga.

It will do this by creating a network of certified

yoga teachers with diverse backgrounds that

will serves as mentors to these children. Cargin

believes the diversity of this network is key to the

success of the program.

“Being a black male who practices yoga, I

believe I have a unique voice that can make a

real impact in urban areas and the parts of town

that many yoga studios may not ever think to host

classes in. Most of the yoga studios are clustered

in certain areas, because that is where the current

interest is. However, many of the people in living

in these places have never even been exposed to

yoga,” explains Cargin.

Cargin believes introducing yoga to local youth

in these urban areas is important, because yoga

is not solely a physical activity. It also teaches

mindfulness and awareness.

“Yoga has helped me be more aware of my

inner thoughts and emotions, and has also helped

me with how I process them. Practicing can give

these kids another outlet for processing their

own emotions.”screen-shot-2018-03-07-at-8-31-55-am

Humble Warrior will first launch as a pilot program with a yoga

initiative this year, but Cargin won’t stop there. Over the next few

years the philanthropist plans to grow Humble Warrior into an

organization that hosts teacher trainings for those wishing to open

their own practice. Cargin also plans to use Humble Warrior as a

program that exposes impoverished youth to a variety of outlets

centered around the arts that may not otherwise be available to them.

This very idea that every child deserves access to a variety of

mediums that allow them to positively express themselves and

improve their situation is one that keeps Cargin moving forward

in his journey to turn Humble Warrior into a program that will

eventually spread to other cities across the country.

“I hope we can inspire these kids to try something different

by giving them the opportunity and tools they need to do so.

We want them to learn to be comfortable with the idea of being


Humble Warrior Contact Info:


(*Micah is in the middle of launching this, so his site is still under

construction. However, he will have this completely up and

verified before this hits the shelves.)


Time Management Expert to Offer Tips at Free Event

By Erica Coghill

Laura Vanderkam Photo by Michael Falco

Laura Vanderkam
Photo by Michael Falco

Join author Laura Vanderkam 6 to 8 p.m. March 12 at The Olmsted

for Norton Healthcare’s upcoming Go Confidently speaker event.

Have you ever uttered the words,

“If only I had more time?” Of course,

we all have.

No matter your lifestyle, family

unit, professional or personal

demands, you’ve no doubt been

overwhelmed by feeling like there

aren’t enough hours in the day.

We caught up with time

management expert and bestselling

author Laura Vanderkam for some

quick tips on how to make the most

of the time we have. She’ll be dishing

out a lot more during the March 12

installment of Norton Healthcare’s

free Go Confidently speaker series.

Mastering the Balancing Act

Time management is something

most of us have struggled with.

Even Vanderkam is no stranger

to the struggle. About 10 years ago,

the then-new-mom was faced with

an uncharted challenge: How do I

master the balancing act of parent

and professional?screen-shot-2018-03-07-at-8-35-13-am

“I knew I wanted to do both

things,” Vanderkam said. “I was

drawn to people who were doing

both — succeeding personally and


She set out on a mission to slow

the proverbial flying of time, or at

least better manipulate it. What she

found is that people who seem to

have it all don’t have more time than

the rest of us — they’re just using it

in ways that are helping them build

the lives they want.

“There’s no perfect hack to free

up all kinds of time in your life; no

special trick with email or special

thing around the house to make

chores magically take less time,”

Vanderkam said.

No one particular thing will change

your life completely, but Vanderkam

suggests a number of strategies you

can implement to make the most of

your time.

Identify What’s Important to You

“What will change your life is

deciding, ‘Even though the house

is messy, I want to read this book,’ ”

Vanderkam said.

Many people wait until everything

else is taken care of before doing

the things they want to do. Ringing

phones and overflowing inboxes are

just a couple things that demand our


“If you spend all of your time on

those things, the day can get away

from you – the week, month, year –

and then you never spend time on

the things that are important but not

necessarily clamoring for attention,”

Vanderkam said.

Think about what you want to

spend more time doing – and do it.

“That unread email will still

be there, but you will have made

progress on the thing that is important

to you,” Vanderkam said.

Journal Your Time

Vanderkam says one of the best

ways to get a sense of where your

time is going is to write it down in a

journal. People generally think they

have a good idea of where their time

is going, but until they journal it, they

don’t have a realistic sense of how

it’s being used.

Once she started tracking her time,

she learned that even though she

works from home, she was spending

a lot more time on the road than she


“I realized I was spending about

an hour a day in the car for various

things that weren’t a daily commute,

and I wasn’t doing anything with that

time that was meaningful to me,”

Vanderkam said.

She decided to make better use

of her time in the car by listening

to audiobooks and podcasts while

behind the wheel.

Build Space in Your Schedule

Saying that you don’t have enough

time is an excuse. If something is a

priority, you will make time for it. If

it’s not a priority, Vanderkam reminds

us that it is OK to say no. You are in

control of your time.

“Time is a choice,” she said.

“Of course, there will be terrible

consequences if you don’t make

certain choices, but in the long run

it is a choice.”

Many success f u l people

Vanderkam has studied have a

surprising amount of open space in

their schedules.

“Being busy is not a badge of

honor,” she said.

Open space invites opportunity in

a way that a cluttered calendar just

can’t do. It’s about realizing that we

don’t have to do everything.

Plan, Plan, Plan

Planning is key. It’s something

Vanderkam didn’t do earlier in her life.

“I realized that people who were

having fun weekends, as opposed to

weekends that were all chores, were

thinking ahead to make sure they

had time for things that were fun

and rejuvenating,” she said.

Thinking through her weekends

ahead of time is a strategy Vanderkam

adopted when she became a mother.

Scheduling activities in advance helps

ensure everyone’s needs are met and

the things that are important to us

actually happen.

Planning doesn’t mean you have

to relinquish spontaneity in your life.

“You just need to get the structure

in place and then you can be

spontaneous within it,” Vanderkam


For example, if you and your

partner have a babysitter for the

night, you can create spontaneity

within that planned evening away

from the kids. Maybe you choose to

walk or drive around a neighborhood

and spontaneously select a spot to

dine for the evening.

Think in Terms of 168 Hours

You may feel like there aren’t

enough hours in the day, but there

are plenty of hours in the week – 168

to be exact. Vanderkam challenges

people to stop pressuring ourselves to

accomplish it all within 24 hours and

start thinking in terms of 168 hours.

“Many people find this to be a

complete breakthrough in terms of

no longer feeling like they are failing

at everything,” she said. “Just because

something didn’t happen today, we

don’t have to say it is not a priority in

our life or it is not important to us.”

One example of how this can yield

positive results is with exercise. If you

didn’t exercise today, you’re not a

failure. Just make sure you find time

for it within the 168 hours. Maybe

you choose to exercise four times

per week — you’ve got a full seven

days to make that goal happen. There

won’t be a perfect time every single

day for exercise. You have to make it

happen when you can.

Vanderkam will discuss these

ideas, among others, at Norton

Healthcare’s Go Confidently speaker

event March 12. The talk will be from

6 to 8 p.m. at The Olmsted, 3701

Frankfort Ave., in Louisville.

Go Confidently is a free public

event. Register by calling 502.629.1234

or go to NortonHealthcare.com/


Learn mor e about t ime

management in Vanderkam’s books,

“168 Hours: You Have More Time

Than You Think” and “I Know How

She Does It: How Successful Women

Make the Most of Their Time.”

“I began
the outlook
that the
more people
you help, the
more you
will be
That’s where
my life really
started to
–Paul Erway


By Steve Kaufman

Photos by Tony Bennett

Paul Erway completed 50 marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks.

Now he’s racing to help others in any way he can.


In 2013, Paul Erway completed 50 marathons

in 50 states in 50 weeks.

One of those was the Boston Marathon, the

year of the bombing.

Notice that this writer didn’t say Erway “runs” in

these marathons. Because he doesn’t. He wheels.

An automobile accident in 1980, the weekend

before he was to graduate from college, left him a

paraplegic, with no feeling or movement from the

chest down. He has been confined to a wheelchair

for 38 years.

He jokes that before the accident, he had studied

animal husbandry in college with the intention of

working in horse “reining” – an American version

of dressage. “If not for the accident, I might be

living in a trailer beside a horse stable, mucking

stalls. Now I’ve gotten to go overseas and to every

state in the country. It’s quite a life.”

Not surprisingly, that wasn’t his attitude in

June 1980, in the days following his accident,

when the spinal surgeon told him he would be

using a wheelchair for the rest of his life and that

he would “need to deal with it.”

Three times in that first year, having gone past

denial, anger and bargaining and reached the

fourth level of grief (which is depression), he

said, “If I’d had a gun, I might well have used it

on myself. So, it’s probably a good thing I didn’t

have a gun.”

A chance encounter on his college campus

(Morrisville State College in Upstate New York,

near Syracuse) changed his course from thoughts

of suicide to a full life of helping others.

“There was a kid on campus with spina bifida

who’d been in a wheelchair his whole life. As we

were heading out to class, he said, ‘I’ll race you

to the lamppost.’ He was a little kid. I’d played

basketball and football, and jumped high hurdles,

in high school. But he beat me by half the distance

to the pole. That got my fires burning.”

Hereby resolved: to eventually beat that kid

in a race.

The actual training to win races didn’t begin

for a few years, though, until Erway graduated

from Penn State University’s school of business

and moved to Harrisburg, Pennsylvania, for a

sales and marketing job with a paper company.

There, he got involved in a local wheelchair

athletic group. “Playing in that program allowed

me to network for the first time with other people

with disabilities.”

He switched jobs, going to work for a company

that sold wheelchairs and adapted vehicles. “I

came to realize that while people hate being in

a wheelchair, they love being able to drive a car.

It was my first realization of the importance of

being able to make people happy.”

He remembered his own first two questions

after his accident: “Can I still drive?” “And can I

have sex?” Not necessarily in that order.

“I began developing the outlook that the more

people you help, the more you will be blessed,” he

said. “That’s where my life really started to change.”

He began to train for racing, getting to the 1990

Para-World Championships in Assen, Netherlands.

“I got smoked,” he said.

But it encouraged him to come back home

and begin weight training with an ex-Penn State

football player. “He was 6-foot-4, 280 pounds,”

Erway remembered. “So, when he told me to do

two more on the bench, I did two more.”

He went to the 1992 nationals in Salt Lake City,

a trial for the U.S. Paralympic team, but got beat

by a 15-year-old. “I was over 30, and most of the

competition was much younger,” said Erway.

“Also, most of them didn’t have jobs, they could

train full-time. I had to work full-time.”

He did some regional 10ks, “but my heart

wasn’t in it.”

In 1994, Erway moved to Shelbyville, Kentucky,

to start his own wheelchair and adapted van

company. Eventually, Superior Van & Mobility

in Louisville – another company that adapts

motor vehicles, cars, vans and trucks – hired him

in marketing and sales, covering all of Kentucky,

Southern Indiana and Eastern Tennessee.

“It’s a gratifying business,” he said. “Every day,

I’m helping somebody get going again.”

But cruel fate wasn’t done with Erway. In

July 2006, while speeding down a steep hill in

Shelbyville during a training run, he tried to avoid

a pickup truck on the road, lost control of his

wheelchair and slammed into the driver’s door.

He fractured both his scapula and collarbone,

broke two ribs, punctured a lung, suffered a spinal

compression fracture and part of his scalp was

separated from his skull.

Also, it was 94 degrees that day, so while the

medical technicians were cautioning, “don’t

move him,’” he lay on the asphalt and burned 60

percent of his back.

One helicopter ride, two hospital stays, three

rehab stints, four operations and five months out

of work followed. But this time, “My attitude was,

‘Racing brought me back before – it will bring me

back again.’ ”

Four years later, he was competing in the world’s

premiere wheelchair marathon in Oita, Japan.

And three years after that, he set out on

his “marathon marathon” – competing in 50

marathons in 50 states in 50 weeks.

“I began developing the outlook that the more people you help, the more you will be blessed. That’s where my life really started to change.” –Paul Erway

“I began
the outlook
that the
more people
you help, the
more you
will be
That’s where
my life really
started to
–Paul Erway

Those included, most memorably, the Aspen, Colorado, marathon

(“Elevation, 8,800 feet. The first 21 of the 26 miles were downhill.”); the

Asheville, North Carolina marathon (“So hilly that I had to go backwards

up some of the hills, or risk flipping over backwards and zigzagging on

some of the others – I won’t ever go back to Asheville again”); and Boston.

It was the third time he’d qualified for the best of U.S. marathons, and

he loved everything about it – the facilities, the crowds, the competition.

“But I had to get back to work,” Erway recalled, “so after I finished, I

rushed to my hotel, changed T-shirts in the lobby and got into a taxi for

the airport.”

His flight took off at 2:45 that afternoon. And in those days before use of

cell phones to go online was permitted on flights, it wasn’t until he landed

in Atlanta and took out his phone that he understood what had happened.

“It was a complete shock,” he said. “Here you are, doing the greatest

marathon in the U.S., feeling so good about completing it, and then

finding out three people were killed, several hundred injured and 16

people lost limbs.”

The bomb went off four minutes after his plane left Boston.

He has written a book about his 50-50-50 experience titled, “50 Ability

Marathons,” though the amount of information forced him to stop the

book after discussing just 14 of the races – Boston being the final chapter.

He intends to write about the other 36 in what he thinks will be two more


Erway has continued to train three times a week, both weight workouts

in the gym and speed workouts on the road. He has a special racing

wheelchair that weighs only 20 pounds and is fitted to his body size and

situation, so that it’s properly balanced and positions his shoulders to

the chair’s push rail for maximum propulsion, and to take advantage of

his arm, stomach and back muscles. “It cost me $6,500.”

But as he went through his fifties (he’s 59 now), he tailed off a bit on his

racing schedule, though he continued to do the Kentucky Derby Festival

(KDF) mini-marathon most years. (“It’s a half-marathon for wheelchairs,”

he explained, “because all those wheelchairs on the course in the park

could be dangerous for the runners.”)

screen-shot-2018-03-07-at-8-41-59-amHe began getting asked by the KDF organizers to help out with the

arrangements for the wheelchair division. And this year, he has been

named director of the April 28-29 event. That means getting sponsorships,

coordinating hotel rooms, registering athletes, caring for their regular

chairs while they’re out in their racing chairs, making sure they’re safe

on the course, and also ensuring there’s mechanical help if they need it.

Erway also will handle the next day’s Tour de Lou, a cycling event in

which handicapped racers use specially outfitted hand cycles.

He was particularly inspired by his experience in Japan, where “all

you had to do was tell them when you were flying in, and they took care

of everything else – free transportation, hotel, breakfasts, registration

for the race.”

Erway recalled while in Oita being asked by the local elementary schools

to come out and talk to the students about life in America. “We gave an

exhibit, told them about the U.S., and played games with them. We even

arm-wrestled with them.”

It has all become part of what he feels is his special mission – helping

others to live full lives and representing his community to the world at large.

“It’s the life I wish I didn’t have to lead,” he said, philosophically, “but

since I do lead it, I might as well try to encourage other people, to help

get them up and going.”

You can find out more about Paul Erway’s journey and book on his web

site, www.50abilitymarathons.com. Or call him at 502.724.2300.


How Vegas helped bring down college basketball

“Everyone’s dirty – some are just

dirtier than others.”

That’s the line from an industry veteran that

struck me. Everyone’s dirty? Everyone?

It was the early 2000s and I was in Las Vegas

watching the next generation of basketball talent

sweat it out in high school gymnasiums scattered

around the desert.

At each gym – Chaparral over here, Cimarron

Memorial over there, Desert Pines and Durango –

were a dozen teams playing a half-dozen games.

Every day in Las Vegas for a full week, the best of

the best high school talent played against each

other, first in round-robin games and then in a

mock tournament.

At each gym, the people-watching was fantastic.

AAU coaches, shoe company executives from

Nike, Reebok and Adidas, former NBA players,

current NBA players and scores of high-level

college coaches mingled together on high school


Imagine the absurdity of seeing Roy Williams,

Rick Pitino and Jim Boeheim sitting just a few feet

from each other on wooden bleachers watching

the same game in a tiny, blistering hot gymnasium.

And yet, there they were.

The Atlanta Celtics were the main draw with

superstar center Dwight Howard (NBA) playing

alongside 6-foot-11 bruiser Randolph Morris

(Kentucky) and 6-8, high-flying wing Josh Smith

(NBA). There were stars from California like Arron

Afflalo and Jordan Farmar (UCLA), an incredible

wing from Maryland named Rudy Gay (UConn)

and some amazing guards: Chicago-area shooter

Shaun Livingston (NBA), Detroit’s Joe Crawford

(Kentucky), Louisville’s Rajon Rondo (Kentucky)

and New York’s Sebastian Telfair (NBA).

Many of the top stars in the 2005 class were

in Vegas at the same time, future stars like Greg

Paulus (Duke), Chris Douglas-Roberts (Memphis),

Gerald Green (NBA), Andrew Bynum (NBA) and

Tyler Hansbrough (UNC). The Seattle teams held

future Louisville Cardinals Terrence Williams

and Peyton Siva and a Southern California team

was led by a young guard named Andre McGee.

I remember asking one of the veteran recruiting

writers how this whole system worked. How do

the coaches know who to watch? How do the

tournaments keep the coaches and the high schoolers separated?

And how in the world can thousands of

youngsters afford to fly to Las Vegas and stay in

hotels for a week, not to mention the new shoes,

new socks, new jerseys and new gym bags?

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” an

assistant coach said with a smirk.

Turns out it doesn’t.

Fast forward to 2016, the FBI arrested 10

people, four of them assistant basketball coaches,

thanks, in part, to conversations recorded in

a Las Vegas hotel room during the summer

recruiting bonanza.

The FBI uncovered a scheme by agents and

shoe company employees to funnel money to

the parents of high school recruits and to pay

assistants to use their influence to steer prospects

toward future agents.

Those arrests, and the mention of a high

school phenom named Brian Bowen being

enticed to come to Louisville, broke open what

could go down as the biggest scandal in college

basketball history.

On the day of the arrests, Joon Kim, the U.S.

Attorney for the Southern District of New York,

put college basketball coaches and the high

school basketball recruiting complex on notice.

Kim vowed to expose “the dark underbelly of

college basketball.”

FBI agent Bill Sweeney said, “Today’s arrests

should serve as a warning to others choosing

to conduct business in this way in the world of

college athletes: We know your playbook. Our

investigation is ongoing, and we are conducting

additional interviews as I speak.”

After that day, Louisville suspended Rick Pitino,

two assistant coaches and athletic director Tom

Jurich. Since then, they’ve all been fired. Assistant

coaches at Auburn, Arizona, Oklahoma State and

USC were all suspended and then later fired.

Over that next week, hundreds of articles

were written calling the arrests the “tip of the

iceberg.” We were all told that more arrests were

imminent and the college basketball world would

be rocked to its core.

Then there was a four-month period of relative

calm. Fans and media started to wonder if the

FBI’s tough talk of having college basketball’s

“playbook” was just bluster.

Then, in early February, all hell broke loose.

Yahoo Sports writers Pete Thamel and Pat

Forde got ahold of some of the FBI’s uncovered


Thamel and Forde wrote, “While three criminal

cases tied to the investigation may take years

to play out, the documents viewed by Yahoo

revealed the extent of the potential NCAA

ramifications from the case. The documents

show an underground recruiting operation that

could create NCAA rules issues – both current and

retroactive – for at least 20 Division I basketball

programs and more than 25 players.”

One of the documents was a spreadsheet

snagged during a raid of a sports agency with

names, dates and amounts of money “loaned”

to high school and college players, including

Kentucky’s Bam Adebayo, NC State’s Dennis

Smith Jr. and Yahoo also uncovered emails that

seemed to indicate assistant coaches at Michigan

State, Indiana and others bidding on Bowen, the

recruit that ended up at Louisville.

ESPN’s Mark Schlabach cited sources that

indicated Arizona coach Sean Miller was recorded

on a FBI wiretap arranging $100,000 for recruit

DeAndre Ayton.

The scandal has already brought down Pitino

and Miller and is threatening to bring down

Michigan State’s Tom Izzo as well. And who else?

Veteran writer Dan Wetzel told Fox Sports he

believes 20 Power-5 head coaches will lose their

jobs before the scandal is done.

If that’s true, the entire system of college

basketball recruiting will have to change. All of

it. From the summer tournaments in Las Vegas

to the high school gyms across the country, if the

NCAA is serious about cleaning up its mess, the

whole lot will have to change.

And the scary thing for the NCAA? The

information that has leaked out so far has all

been from one agent’s office. What about the

other 15 agencies doing business in much the

same manner?

Mark Emmert was on CBS and was asked about

the mess in college basketball. He said change

is on the way. “Following the Southern District

of New York’s indictments last year, the NCAA

Board of Governors and I formed the independent

Commission on College Basketball, chaired by

Condoleezza Rice, to provide recommendations

on how to clean up the sport. With these latest

allegations, it’s clear this work is more important

now than ever. The Board and I are completely

committed to making transformational changes

to the game and ensuring all involved in

college basketball do so with integrity. We also

will continue to cooperate with the efforts of

federal prosecutors to identify and punish the

unscrupulous parties seeking to exploit the system

through criminal acts.”

As a longtime observer of the recruiting process

each summer, I have a few notes for Emmert

and Rice:

The NCAA must remove the shoe companies

from the recruiting process. Removing shoe

company sponsorships from AAU and high school

teams would be a good place to start.

The NCAA must remove parents and assistant

coaches from the pockets of agents. Getting the

NBA to modify its one-and-done rule would

help this issue.

CBS’ Gary Parrish believes the NCAA should

allow college athletes to sign with agents above

board: “The fix really is simple. What the NCAA

should do is eliminate the black market by allowing

student-athletes to secure representation and

accept fair-market value in this billion-dollar

industry where just about everybody connected

to the biggest sports in the biggest conferences

are legally getting rich but them.”

The NCAA must figure out a way to let the elite

talent head to the pros while keeping enough

talent to make college basketball fun to watch.

None of that will be easy, especially considering

public perception casts the NCAA’s favorability

rating somewhere between the NRA and Congress.

And over the next two years as these cases

unfold, the NCAA must deal with the fall out of

multiple elite coaches losing their jobs thanks to

the investigation headed by the FBI.

College basketball won’t be the same after this

is all done. And that’s probably a good thing.

“What happens in Vegas, stays in Vegas,” an assistant

coach said with a smirk.

Turns out it doesn’t.




Who’s ready to go golfing? Our writers share how to enjoy the game at any age, keep healthy while playing it and why you should give disc golf a try.

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It’s time to set a tee time. Don’t delay: Grab your pals and get golfing!

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