Aside from our face, our voice, or our fingerprint, what identifies us more than our name?
That is why I owe a sincere apology to a young lady from Wilde Lake High School. For each of the last three tennis previews, I have misspelled Olayemisi Ogunshina’s name.
Lest I come across as a completely inept and careless journalist, allow me to explain. Our previews typically contain about 100 names. Although we try to gather as many official rosters as possible, we do not have access to a database of correctly spelled names, and dictating names over the phone is bound to result in a few mistakes (”P” as in Paul, or “T” as in Tall? Maybe we should utilize the NATO phonetic alphabet: it would be fun using words like Bravo, Foxtrot, Tango and Victor). At one point Olayemisi’s name was dictated to me over the phone. The spelling was confirmed by a roster sent out later that season. That’s the spelling we have used ever since.
Until this year, that is, when Olayemisi got tired of seeing her name misspelled and spoke up. We get A LOT of feedback from parents, but I admire Olayemisi for standing up for herself.
She’s a junior, so we have at least one more chance to get it right.
That’s the title of a segment on HBO’s Real Sports with Bryant Gumbel, which is currently showing. It’s an update of a 2002 piece by Frank Deford.
The independent woman in question is Rayna DuBose.
As a freshman, Rayna helped Oakland Mills win its only state title in girls basketball. By the time she graduated in 2001, she held the school record for career points (1,591), rebounds (1,209) and points in a game (40). At 6-foot-2, she was a wicked shot blocker as well.
Rayna was so good, she snagged a basketball scholarship from Virginia Tech.
It was there that her life changed forever.
At the end of her freshman season, nearly seven years ago now, Rayna came home for a weekend break. When she returned to school, she didn’t feel well. Flu or dehydration were the quick guesses. It turned out to be something much more insidious. Rayna had contracted meningococcal meningitis, a bacterial infection. By the time it was diagnosed, according to one of her doctors, she was the “sickest person in Virginia.”
Then it got worse. One crisis followed another. Rayna had a heart attack and her major organs began shutting down. She was in deep, deep trouble before things got turned around.
Although Rayna got her life back, she lost her limbs. The meningitis prevented adequate circulation to her hands and feet. Her arms had to be amputated four inches below the elbows and her legs six inches below the knees.
Rayna returned to Maryland to rehabilitate. She had to learn how to feed herself, get dressed, how to walk and how to drive with the artificial limbs she received. With the help and support of her loving family and friends, Rayna was up for the challenge.
As soon as she could, she returned to Virginia Tech, rejoining the basketball team in a different capacity.
Rayna graduated in 2007. She’s got her own place in Blacksburg and works as a hostess in a restaurant.
Rayna has embarked on a career as a motivational speaker. Winning the Game of Life is her theme. She certainly has.
Check out her Web site. Check out Real Sports, too.
Every Maryland wrestler’s dream is to end their season with a trip to the state tournament at Cole Field House. For two county wrestlers that dream was dashed by mat herpes, a skin infection also known Herpes gladiatorum. Mat herpes is a variant of the herpes simplex virus that can be spread through the type of physical contact inherent to wrestling.
The wrestlers qualified for the state tournament, but the infection was discovered sometime during the week of practice leading up to last weekend’s tournament. One of the wrestlers was hospitalized at St. Agnes Hospital but has been released and returned to school this week, according to Patti Caplan, the Howard County board of education’s public information director.
Our intention here is not to find the Typhoid Mary, or play the blame game, but to once again stress the importance of personal hygiene in athletics. Athletes are advised to wash hands, shower after games and practices, treat cuts, get infected wounds checked out and launder all equipment.
As the old saying goes: an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.
I can’t believe it. My kid didn’t make the team. Well, not the team I feel my kid deserves. Definitely, my kid is varsity caliber. What a huge mistake to have to spend the season on the JV.
OMG! How can this be? The coach must be absolutely nuts, or biased, or too old to know good talent when it is right there in front of his face.
My kid was the best one out there. I know, because I know my kid. I’ve coached my kid for 10 years and I played ball in college.
That coach must intentionally want to lose. Why else was my kid put back on JV? I am furious.
My kid started playing sports at age three and is highly skilled — adept with either hand. Can bat right or left. Can throw right or left. Can run as fast backward as forward. Everyone looks up to my kid.
We’ve spent tons of money on getting hooked up with the right travel team — the one that plays 100 games over the summer and in tournaments in places like Disney World. My kid is on the Olympic development track. (London 2012, here we come!)
The personal trainer has been a big help. My kid can bench press 350 pounds, isn’t that worth something?
I am going to be so embarrassed when my friends find out about this. My kid — on the JV. I’ll have to wear a baseball cap and dark glasses when I go to Starbucks or the grocery store.
And there goes the college scholarship. Without a scholarship, there’s no chance of catching the attention of the pro teams or getting a shoe contract.
This is not fair! My life is ruined.
Do you recognize yourself here?
In some ways, I’ve been there; done that.
One of my kids got cut on the first day of JV baseball tryouts, which consisted of not much more than throwing the ball around in the parking lot. He changed sports and had a wonderful experience.
My other son got cut on the second day of JV soccer tryouts, which included doing windsprints up a very steep hill. He switched to cross country, eventually worked his way up to varsity and mastered that same hill.
What I realized about my sons’ disappointment, and my own, was during tryouts my kids just didn’t measure up. But that it was not a permanent reflection on them or me. Life goes on.
They each found other sports they could play and enjoy.
It’s important to remember that it’s their high school sports experience, not mine, or yours. As parents our involvement is to be supportive of our children as individuals and to be on the sidelines in that capacity.
Ever heard the famous story about Michael Jordan getting cut from his JV basketball team? It’s what you do afterward that counts.
…Atholton senior 145-pounder.
Steinel was out sick for the county tournament, but bounced back in time to win the regional title, earning a top seed for this weekend’s state tournament. Steinel, who has been wrestling since he was 5, was a county finalist as a freshman and sophomore, but missed most of last season because of a shoulder injury. He won the Grapple at the Brook this season, and is 25-5.
Favorite movie of all time: Juwanna Mann
Favorite pregame locker-room song: Something that will make me laugh and relax such as Unwritten by Natasha Bedingfield.
Best wrestling moment: Definitely winning regions.
Hobby that I have or had in the past that would surprise people: Not working out
Top professional athlete role model: Kobe Bryant
Hardest class I ever took: AP history this year, for sure.
When I grow up I want to: Own a business
Best part-time job I’ve ever had: I’ve never had a job
Got an idea for a ‘30-second Timeout’ question? Know a local athlete who would be an ideal candidate? Send your suggestions to the sports staff at email@example.com
Andrew took his first job with the Howard County Times as an editorial assistant/obituary writer in 2001. He has written about an array of sports, from rugby to roller skate dancing. Andrew was a (mediocre) swimmer at Loyola College, but he enjoys playing many sports, including rec-league softball, kickball, basketball, football, soccer, and ultimate Frisbee. He would play rec-league unicycle badminton if he could find a league. He is a fan of all the Baltimore sports clubs, from the O’s to the Blast. When he’s not obsessing over the athletic endeavors of others, Andrew enjoys watching zombie movies from the 70s and 80s. He resides in Catonsville.