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Traumatic childhood events almost prevented University of Texas women’s basketball center Imani McGee-Stafford from reaching her potential. While poetry — writing down her feelings — became an outlet for bottled up emotions, it wasn’t until college that she made the connection between the written and spoken word and how her message could impact others. Now, when not on the court, she competes in another arena – competitive slam poetry – sharing her story with others hoping they can avoid suffering in the same silence that almost took her life. LZ Granderson reports.
“I always say poetry is air because I think it’s something I can’t live without. I credit poetry with saving my life.” — Imani McGee-Stafford
“For the most part she was a happy child, full of love, but there were some dark moments in her life as well, that began to surface.” — Kevin Stafford, Imani’s father
On January 12, 2010, a 7.0 earthquake in Haiti left an estimated 1 million people homeless, many of them children who found new homes in faraway places such as the United States. Kermit Alexander’s attempt to rescue one Haitian boy helped the former NFL player rescue himself after gang members murdered his mother, sister and two nephews in 1984. OTL updates Tom Friend’s 2010 piece with a discussion of Alexander’s recent lawsuit demanding the state of California put in place an execution protocol to end the life of his family’s killer with a lethal injection.
After a lifetime of hurt, there is no quit in Cat Zingano, as she will attempt to show undefeated champ Ronda Rousey in the main event at Saturday’s UFC 184. The equally unbeaten Zingano is an emotional fighter defined by her dramatic wins — five by KO/TKO, three by submission and one by decision — who returned to the octagon last September, eight months after her husband (who was also her coach) committed suicide. Allison Glock reports.
Senior Coordinating Producer, Enterprise Reporting Unit Dwayne Bray was the featured speaker at Tuesday’s gathering of the Baldwin Business and Financial Journalism Lecture Series at the University of South Carolina.
According to organizers, Bray was in Columbia, S.C to “discuss the groundbreaking work the award-winning Outside the Lines program has done to document brain injuries in the multi-billion-dollar business of football.”
“This was truly a wonderful opportunity to get out of the office and engage with hundreds of our fans and some potential future applicants for ESPN employment,” Bray said. “The journalism and business journalism students were engaged and already knew tons about our company and were grateful to get some first-hand insights about our operation.”
Bray noted participation in Pop Warner football is down as many doctors say that the alternative – flag football – is a safer option.
“If you are a college player at the University of South Carolina, you choose to sign that scholarship,” Bray told his audience in the Capstone Campus Room, “but if you are a kid, and you are eight, nine or 10 years old, can you make that choice, and should you be playing flag instead of tackle football at that age? That’s a big question out there.”