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Wednesday, July 14, 2010

ed thomas

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2010 ESPY's: Jimmy V award to George Karl and other winners (photos)

ed thomas

The ESPY Awards are fun and meant to award achievements in and around sports. However, there are loftier goals that are noted by the ESPY's. The Arthur Ashe Courage Award and the Jimmy V Comeback Award are given to people who personify the traits of the men for whom the awards are named.
This year's Ashe Award recipients are the family of Ed Thomas, the Iowa high school football coach who took a town on his back after an unthinkable tragedy. He ultimately was the victim of another.
Thomas' town of Pakersburg, Iowa was leveled by an EF-5 tornado in the summer of 2008. He lost his home and the high school at which he taught and coached looked like it wouldn't host another game, never mind be ready for the first game of the 2008 season.
Slideshow of ESPY Red Carpet attendees
He worked tirelessly to keep the town's 2000 citizens focused and together. On cue, the football team took the field and didn't just play the season, they went 11-1. It gave solace and solidarity to the town.
But one year later, he was shot to death by a former student who suffered from a mental illness. Thomas' sons and wife not only consoled each other but made certain to reach out to the parents of the boy who had taken Ed's life
They never even considered vilifying the troubled young man or his parents. It's a small town, you see and the word "neighbors" means something special in Parkersburg.
The Thomas family led the town's grieving as well as healing process and gave new meaning to "turn the other cheek".
2010 ESPY winners: Best Sports Moment, Breakthrough Athlete, Best Record Breaking Performance
This year's Jimmy V Comeback Award was given to Denver Nuggets' head coach, George Karl. He was stricken with cancer for the second time within a few years and it kicked his butt.
He had to bow out of leading his team through the end of the season as well as the 2010 playoffs. The Nuggets struggled without him and were bounced in the first round.
Karl had already beaten prostate cancer and lived through his son Coby's two surgeries for thyroid cancer. But the throat and neck cancer he contracted tested him like nothing else.
Forty rounds of radiation burned through his skin, took his voice and he thought the cure would kill him before the disease.
He appeared on stage in the shadow of the Jimmy V banners and talked of the support he has had as well as his hopes for how to find and fund a cure for the dread disease.
It's clear he's ready to return to the rat race that is the NBA season but he will forever be changed.

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