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Sports Column: Sports world gives fans plenty to smile about as end of school year approaches

Hang in there, Ohio University students. You only have three more weeks of classes and exams before that beautiful horizon called “summer” arrives. Here are four positive stories to get you through your Wednesday.

1. Carbone’s ’Cats playing well in coach’s final season

Ohio baseball coach Joe Carbone decided to make the 2012 season his last, and the Bobcats responded by making the season one of their best in a while.

With only three Mid-American Conference games left before the MAC Tournament, Ohio is sitting comfortably in second place in the East Division with a 15-9 record in conference games. The Bobcats will finish the MAC slate with a winning record for the first time since 2009 and will pursue their first conference tournament title since 1997.

Carbone expects dedication and responsibility out of his squad and is admittedly an old-school coach. His players respect him deeply and have demonstrated an ability to dominate opponents. The Bobcats have swept three MAC series this year and will look for their fourth against the rival Miami RedHawks in Carbone’s final series at Bob Wren Stadium.

Ohio has only had four baseball coaches in the last 88 years, and two of those have stadiums named after them. Come watch the Bobcats before this era ends.

2. Bobcats come out to Relay for Life

In a year that will be defined by a divisive presidential election and international tensions, the things that draw us together are as important as ever. One of those causes is the fight against cancer, which affects almost everybody directly

or indirectly.

OU students answered the call by showing up en masse to Relay for Life at Pruitt Field last Friday and Saturday. Among the attendees were Bobcat student-athletes and coaches, including basketball player Jon Smith, golfer Kristen Helmsdoerfer, field hockey coach Neil Macmillan and the club rugby team, among others.

The relay raised more than $40,000 for cancer research and served as a time to honor loved ones who have won or lost their battle with the fierce disease. The gathering was a sobering reminder that we can accomplish more together than we can apart.

3. Hamilton’s heroics show power of perseverance


Texas Rangers slugger Josh Hamilton has had his share of hard knocks in life — most of them self-inflicted. But Hamilton is showing time and time again that every setback can be overcome. For every relapse into alcohol abuse or poor judgment call off the field, he is showing that perseverance leads to progress, and progress leads to success.

Hamilton’s numbers have been unreal lately. He hit four home runs and a double against Baltimore last week and broke the American League record for total bases in a game. He’s batting .400 on the season and is on pace to tally 100 RBIs by the end of August.

The beauty of sports is that people are not expected to be perfect. One bout of poor judgment could end a politician’s career, but people like Hamilton show that awarding a second chance is worth a second look.

4. Man City’s comeback was a game for the ages

What happened in Manchester last weekend is incomprehensible for most North American sports fans. There’s nothing quite like the Manchester City vs. Manchester United rivalry, and when the chronic underachiever pulls off a miracle comeback to win a title, the only response is awe.

Needing a win to steal the English Premier League title from Man U., Man City scored two goals in stoppage time to upend Queens Park Rangers for its first league championship since 1968, stealing the title away from their cross-city rivals in the process. The win finally put Manchester’s underdog on the map in a way that no American sports team could imagine.

New York, Chicago and Los Angeles all have fierce intra-city rivalries, but even the lowly Cubs are the favorites in the Windy City. Besides, most teams from the same city play in different conferences.

Even the fiercest Man U. fan should muster a smile for the boys in sky blue.

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