Good stories in sports are everywhere

Over the past week, I had an epiphany of sorts, where I’m trying to avoid things that will bring me down or tick me off in life.
In the world of sports, that seems to happen more often than not, with complaining about different things being part of seemingly every sports reporter’s mantra.
However, after a while, there is only so much of hockey athletes fighting over the tiniest bit of contact during a scrum, college football coaches crashing motorcycles and losing their jobs over an alleged affair, and reporters making stories out of their own personal issues with organizations that can send this sports writer off the deep end.
Thankfully, though, since turning over this new leaf in a personal sense, there have been a number of stories in the sports world, both locally and elsewhere, that are worth sharing.
First up is the performance of local runner Lorne Ricard as the 57-year-old competed in this year’s Boston Marathon and completed the 42.195-km course in a time of 4:24:40.
For someone like me who is out of breath after running for only a couple of minutes, I can’t even imagine trying to complete a marathon at my current age, let alone many years from now.
Sure, Lorne has been doing this for a number of years now and this must be a like a walk in the park for him at this point. Nevertheless, completing an event such as the Boston Marathon is a major accomplishment—and one that I can’t imagine what it takes to accomplish.
Staying in the local sporting realm, former Muskie girls’ hockey sniper Jillian Langtry will be competing for a national title starting Sunday in Charlottetown as the Thunder Bay Sportop Queens Midget ‘AA’ squad is headed to the Esso Cup after winning the provincial finals this past Sunday in Toronto.
The Queens took home the crown with a 5-0 victory over the Waterloo Ravens in the final, with Langtry scoring one of the goals.
Langtry also had an assist in the team’s opening round-robin win Friday morning versus the Sarnia Lady Sting.
Moving to the national sports scene, and in between the suspensions and brawls that have taken place in the opening round of the Stanley Cup playoffs, one of the bright moments has been the play of Washington Capitals’ goalie Braden Holtby.
A 22-year-old from Lloydminster, Sask., Holtby was anything but a household name heading into the start of the post-season as the former fourth-round selection had played in only 21 NHL games.
But instead of wilting under the pressure of the post-season stage, Holtby has rose to the challenge by making save after save for the Capitals when they’ve needed him to, and seemingly keeping his team in their series against the defending champion Boston Bruins.
And for a team that seemingly has struggled with trying to find a quality goalie to go along with their vaunted skaters, the answer to their problems finally may have been discovered heading into next season.
Last but not least, for a country that has produced such talents as the late Gilles Villeneuve, his son, Jacques, and Paul Tracy, it’s been a while since a Canadian open-wheel racing driver has become a household name.
Although it’s only a couple of races into the Indy Car Series season, Oakville’s James Hinchcliffe just might be the next great talent from the Great White North.
After a strong rookie campaign in 2011 that saw him finish 12th in the standings for the new defunct Newman-Haas team, the 25-year-old finds himself driving for Andretti Autosport in the car previously driven by Danica Patrick—a ride that would have been held by the late Dan Wheldon if not for his tragic death last October in a race in Las Vegas.
Despite such well-known shoes to fill, Hinchcliffe has shown a steadiness in the cockpit far beyond someone in just their second season. He nabbed his first podium finish Sunday in Long Beach with a third-place result and currently sits fifth in the standings.
And to top it all off, Hinchcliffe possesses a zany personality as he’s currently trying to start a viral campaign to take over the front page of his sponsor (GoDaddy.com) away from Patrick.
While there is still a long way to go in the season, Hinchcliffe could well be on his way to becoming one of the top racer’s in his sport—and hopefully someone whose exploits become well-known across the country.

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