Howdy, I’m your host, Houston Mitchell. We’re going to change gears in this newsletter a little bit for today only. Yes, the Rams played and won Sunday. As did the Lakers. You can read all about that, and more, by clicking here. But there are two stories that may have slipped under your radar in the last few busy sports days. Stories that got lost amid all the Rams, UCLA, USC, Lakers, Clippers, Kings and Ducks results.
HIGH SCHOOL SPORTS
I wish I could take credit for this first story, but it was written by a person I consider the pre-eminent high school sports reporter in the nation, Eric Sondheimer.
Down by 21 points twice in the Division 7 playoff game Friday night, junior quarterback Walker Eget of West Ranch looked up into the filled bleachers and felt additional motivation.
In the wake of Thursday’s shooting at Saugus High, students from around the Santa Clarita Valley came together at West Ranch to support each other. They hugged, they shook hands, they cheered for West Ranch. Members of the Saugus football team were there too. Everyone was trying to fulfill the #SaugusStrong spirt.
“On the last few drives, it was, ‘Do it for the people,’ ” Eget said.
Eget finished with seven touchdown passes to help West Ranch pull out a 57-56 win over Long Beach Wilson to advance to the Southern Section Division 7 semifinals.
“It was surreal,” West Ranch coach Chris Varner said. “I was exhausted from the emotions of everything.”
Two students were killed and three wounded in Thursday’s shooting. No classes were held Friday at any of the high schools in the Hart Unified School District. The football game gave an opportunity for the community to come together and offer emotional support to those who needed a positive experience.
“Going to a football game can’t help what happened, but we’re trying to lighten up the mood and say prayers to the community,” Eget said. “Our idea was Saugus Strong. Saugus needed this.”
It was the first time Eget has passed for seven touchdowns since a game earlier this season — against Saugus. This time, Saugus fans and all fans in the Santa Clarita Valley were rooting for Eget.
Vera Clemente, the widow of Hall of Fame outfielder Roberto Clemente and a goodwill ambassador for Major League Baseball, died Saturday. She was 78. She died in San Juan, Puerto Rico.
Vera and Roberto Clemente got married in November 1964, according to the Roberto Clemente Foundation. Roberto Clemente was a 15-time All-Star with the Pirates. He was killed in a plane crash on New Year’s Eve 1972 while attempting to deliver supplies to earthquake victims in Nicaragua.
Baseball Commissioner Rob Manfred says Vera Clemente “impacted countless children and extended her family’s humanitarian legacy of helping those in need.”
Vera Clemente served as the chairwoman for the foundation, which works “to promote positive change and community engagement through the example and inspiration of Roberto.” Vera and Roberto had three sons: Roberto Jr., Luis and Enrique.
Pirates owner Bob Nutting called Clemente “a cherished member of the Pittsburgh Pirates and Major League Baseball family.” He says she “epitomized grace, dignity and strength in the wake of heartbreaking tragedy and loss.”
Former Pirate Steve Blass remembered Vera: “It couldn’t have been easy for her, losing her husband and raising three young boys by herself,” Blass said. “I never sensed any bitterness, though, on her part. She never wanted anyone to feel sorry for her. She went on to raise three great sons and doing so much good with her charity work with the Roberto Clemente Foundation both in Puerto Rico and Pittsburgh.
“She was always gracious with her time to always come back to Pittsburgh and be there anytime the Pirates marked any anniversaries or paid any tributes to Roberto. She never lost that connection to the city.”
Former Pirates catcher Manny Sanguillen wrote on Twitter: “Doña Vera is in heaven, reunited with Roberto. Vera and Roberto dedicated their lives to helping others, now we must do as they taught us. Encircle their family with love, prayers, support and guidance. God blessed us with Roberto & Vera, we will follow their lead & bless others.”
So here’s a woman whose husband died tragically while trying to help others. Instead of becoming bitter, she raised their three kids and ran a charitable foundation in the name of her husband, a foundation that helped the underprivileged in two countries. Her passing deserves mention, and her memory deserves to be honored. So, if you can and are willing, take a moment today and reflect on her memory, and thank anyone you know who is serving others, in whatever capacity.
That concludes the newsletter for today. If you have any feedback, ideas for improvement or things you’d like to see, please email me at email@example.com. If you want to subscribe, click here.