Odds and Ends – Panthers, Curry and Jimmy V

It’s a great time to be a sports fan in Charlotte with the Carolina Panthers scoring a huge win over Tampa Bay on Monday night football and another season of college basketball hitting full stride.

We’re big Panther fans and we’re among the thousands of area fans who have jumped on the Davidson Wildcat bandwagon following their amazing run in the NCAA Tournament last year. Davidson’s Stephen Curry has emerged as one the best players in the country and he even has NBA star LeBron James in his cheering section.

My son Sean and I have been following Curry since his freshman season and we got to take some photographs at a few home games last year. Click here to see some of our pictures from last season.

Davidson had a big win over NC State here in Charlotte Saturday and I tuned in Tuesday night to watch the Wildcats play West Virginia in the Jimmy V Classic at Madison Square Garden in New York.

Curry was having an off night early on but ended the game in his usual dramatic fashion and hit two 3-pointers in the final 90 seconds to lead Davidson to a 68-65 win.

Curry’s determined effort fit well with Jim Valvano’s call to “never give up” when he faced his battle with cancer. For those too young to remember, Valvano was the charismatic NC State coach who led the Wolfpack to an incredibly unlikely national championship in 1983. The images of Valvano running around the floor looking for someone to hug are etched in most sports fans’ memories.

Valvano would lose his battle with cancer in 1993 at the age of 47. But before he died he started the Jimmy V foundation to raise money to fight the disease. To date, the Jimmy V foundation has earned in excess of $80 million.

At halftime of last night’s game, ESPN aired Valvano’s speech at the ESPY awards where he received the Arthur Ashe award. I hadn’t seen the speech in years and it really resonated with me at this particular time.

Both of my parents and my younger brother and sister have battled cancer.

Valvano’s message was particularly hopeful in this time of economic turmoil and negativity. He calls for people to enjoy life today and to value their families.

He said a good day involves taking time to laugh, think and to be moved to tears.

And, most of all, he calls us to “never give up.”

If you’ve got 10 minutes to spare, check out the video below. It’s well worth you time.

Jimmy V on the ESPY Awards

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