Early in the onset of the disease that thoroughly transformed him, Mike McCloskey wandered into Duke's locked Cameron Indoor Stadium. He meant no harm. He just wanted to shoot some hoops and experience that peace again.
Six husky pallbearers carried Yordano Ventura's coffin Tuesday down a narrow Dominican road crowded with mourners. That scene from the 25-year-old Kansas City pitcher's heartbreaking funeral brought to life a verse from the poem "To an Athlete Dying Young":
I was high atop the city - literally and, after three vodka-tonics, figuratively - when I spotted a column. The view from the Hyatt at the Bellevue's lofty 19 bar revealed a tough city of brick-and-steel sinew. West and south of Center City, in the sturdy remnants of our factory past, there was little effete or charming.
Hollywood loves feel-good Olympic stories. The recipe for this genre of tasty film entertainment is by now a familiar one: Start with a compelling underdog; mix in plenty of grit, emotion, patriotism and drama; and top it all with an ample layer of corn.
Frank Fitzpatrick has been an editor and writer at the Inquirer since 1980. A onetime beat writer for the Phillies, Eagles, and Penn State football, he also has covered nine Olympics. A 2000 Pulitzer Prize finalist, he now focuses on sports projects for the Inquirer and Daily News and writes a Sunday column.