“Dearly beloved, we are gathered here today—five years after his passing—to remember one of the most unique talents ever to be drawn to the game.”
Two of the world’s best tennis players meet for a match 1912, just weeks after they both survived the Titanic disaster:
“Now consider a scenario in which two of the survivors were dashing, world-class athletes in the same sport, destined to face off against each other many times. The hype surrounding those matches would be immeasurable. After their playing careers, the two men would be bracketed together—the Ralph Branca and Bobby Thomson of the sea—perhaps cowriting a book, then hitting the speaking circuit.
“A century ago the culture was different. Look-at-me sensibilities were considered gauche. Many passengers lucky enough to have ended up on the Carpathia struggled with what today would be diagnosed as post–traumatic stress disorder. This was especially true for the men, whose survival was seen by some as evidence of cowardice.”
It’s been two autumns now since JaMarcus Russell last played a down of organized football. This fall, when capable quarterbacks have been in high demand and short supply, he’s gotten no calls. The Raiders lost his successor, Jason Campbell, to a broken collarbone on Oct. 16, and last week they acquired 31-year-old Carson Palmer, who had chosen to retire rather than play for the Bengals. Oakland sent Cincinnati a first-round pick in 2012 and a conditional second-rounder in ’13, and will pay him a guaranteed $7.5 million over the next two years. Yet Russell still counts himself among Mobile’s legion of unemployed.
Nearly seven years after he tried to arrange a murder, former NHL player Mike Danton is studying psychology and finally piecing his life together. “When Danton jumped off that jailhouse bunk bed with a terry-cloth noose around his neck, it was no halfhearted suicide attempt. ‘I absolutely wanted to die,’ he says. But the strands of towel ripped, unable to support his 190 pounds. Danton landed on the ground and stared at the names he’d written on the wall, tears puddling next to him. He took his survival as a sign. ‘I’m not religious, but I realized that if I was supposed to die that day, I would have.'”
The disgraced quarterback has already paid a greater price for his crime than most wayward athletes.