How Life, Loss, and Love are Illustrated by Sports

The cover featured a photo of a regal looking black man with dreadlocks piled high on the top of his head and a peace sign tattooed on the back of his left hand. Deandre Hopkins played football for the Houston Texans until he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in what the article called “the biggest-and most lopsided-trade of the NFL offseason.”

I rarely read Sports Illustrated (SI) magazine but one morning Memorial Day weekend while everyone else  in my family was still asleep I did.

In my medical practice and on this blog, I promote sports as a way to maintain health and fitness, but I’d never pursued organized sports myself-not due to lack of interest, but lack of talent-until I discovered the sport side of ballroom dancing. 

Otherwise, I follow my local sports teams, the Olympics, and the big events -the Super Bowl, World Series, and World Cup. And I admire those athletes who achieve special recognition in their sport, especially those who overcome great odds to get there. 

Hands Dealt 

So perhaps that’s what attracted me to  the May 2020  issue my husband left lying on the coffee table. The cover featured a photo of a regal looking black man with dreadlocks piled high on the top of his head and a peace sign tattooed on the back of his left hand. Deandre Hopkins played football for the Houston Texans until he was traded to the Arizona Cardinals in what the article called “the biggest-and most lopsided-trade of the NFL offseason.” 

I don’t understand or care about football trades. I am interested in what Deandre said about his hair. He says he wears it with pride, because

“we, as people, drew strength from our hair. I will never cut mine, because I know who I am. And there’s power in knowing exactly who I am.”

Deandre Hopkins

I thought, He talks like Samson, in the Bible, whose strength came from his hair. No wonder he looks regal. 

Deandre’s background sounds less regal, but may be the true source of his power. He wonders whether being bow-legged as a child forced him to develop better balance.

Deandre grew up poor, one of five children. His mother was left blind when an angry woman, jealous because they were both dating the same man, splashed acid into her face. His father, who sold drugs, died when Deandre was six months old. All of this, and probably more, shaped his mindset. 

Deal with the pain. People you love can make mistakes. Move forward. 

Deandre, Sports Illustrated, May 2020

Maybe that’s why he isn’t angry about the trade, why he helped his mother start a nonprofit to aid survivors of domestic violence, and why he donated $150,000 to COVID-19 relief efforts in Arizona, where he will move when restrictions are lifted.

Trust me, you need to read how these and other events shaped the lives of Deandre and his mother Sabrina Greenlee ,forging

The Unbreakable Bond

WAter wait 

Continuing on, I discovered open-water swimming which I didn’t know was a sport, much less in the Olympics. Ashley Twichell could swim before she could walk. For thirteen years she has worked to earn a spot on the U.S. Olympic swim team and at 31 years old, she would have been the team’s oldest rookie Olympic swimmer  since 1908 , if this summer’s games had not been cancelled.  And next year, at 32, she will be the second oldest woman to ever swim on the U.S. Olympic team.

“I’ve always taken it year by year. And now I get even one more year than I was planning on.”

faith of a nation

Deni Avdija, a 19 year old basketball champion from Israel, cannot grow a beard. But he has aspirations to play professional basketball. In the United States. For the NBA. Which even a basketball simpleton like myself knows will be historic.  

Last year his team won the under-20 European Championship in Tel Aviv. Playing in the final against Spain he earned the tournament MVP (Most Valuable Player) award. He fell to his knees as the game ended, thinking of his  grandmother, who had supported him, and  had died of Alzheimer’s a few weeks earlier. He told himself,  

“She gave me this trophy. She gave me the opportunity to win this trophy.” 

I hope he makes the NBA. I might watch him if he plays for the Oklahoma City Thunder, they’re just a short turnpike drive from my home.

View this post on Instagram

Eyes up👀

A post shared by Deni Avdija (@deniavdia8) on

standard of caring

Finally, I name Hayley Wickenheiser, retired ice hockey player, as MVP for this issue of SI. She deserves it on several levels. She earned seven world championship golds.   She played for Canada in five Olympics. She won four Gold medals and one Silver medal. She was admitted to the Hockey Hall of Fame. She even played on a Finnish men’s hockey team. She deserves the unofficial title of history’s greatest female hockey player.

But for me, that isn’t what makes her MVP. Haley sees the coronavirus pandemic from a different perspective; she will soon be Dr. Wickenheiser upon finishing her final year of medical school. She plans to practice emergency medicine.

Hayley serves on the IOC (International Olympic Committee) Athletes’ Commission, a peer-elected board that advises the Olympics’ governing body. In March 2020, she became increasingly concerned about the fate of this year’s Olympic games  as the world became engulfed in the COVID-19 nightmare.

So she took to Twitter demanding the IOC make a definitive plan to give direction to the thousands of athletes in limbo about the games. Her tweets prompted other organizations to make similar demands and by late March the games had been officially cancelled. 

Her concern came not just as an athlete. She said, 

“I couldn’t sit silently anymore, given  what I was seeing in the emergency rooms and hearing from my friends in hospitals across the country.” 

As a student she is not expected or allowed to provide direct care to coronavirus patients. But she stays busy studying, working out, giving hockey tips through Instagram, and using Twitter to encourage social distancing. 

“The calmer we stay, the more we isolate from each other…if we do our part at home and on the front lines, we have a chance to combat this as a mass group of humanity.” 

With Dr. Hayley and her generation of future physicians, I think the world’s health is in good hands.

exploring the HEART of athletes

Thanks for joining me to meet these athletes. I hope you will explore them further and gain new inspiration for your own athletic journeys; we all have one, in one way or another.

Dr Aletha

Dr Aletha lifting arms like an ice skater shadow behind her
Getting inspired while touring the USA Olympic training center in Colorado Springs, Colorado

Click this affiliate link to learn how you can get inspired with Aaptiv workouts for fun and fitness.

find sports illustrated at barnes &noble

Donald Trump’s Healthcare Achievements-a review

Donald J. Trump served as U.S. President from January 2017 through January 2021. Posts about him will remain on this blog for historical purposes. As indicated when first published, they do not imply indorsement of him, his policies, or actions.

update January 7, 2021

Donald J. Trump served as U.S. President from January 2017 through January 2021. Posts about him will remain on this blog for historical purposes. As indicated when first published, they do not imply indorsement of him, his party, his policies, or actions.

Due to the pandemic caused by the SARS-CoV2 virus, health has been a major topic in both world and national news this year and will continue to be so for months if not years. And health is a major issue in this year’s United States’ presidential election in November 2020.

Health care was a major issue in the 2008 election and proved to be momentous. In his campaign, the Democratic candidate, Barack Obama, promised health care reform and as President he delivered with the passage of the Affordable Care Act, (ACA) the first time Americans have had universal health care.

The ACA sparked heated debate in the 2016 election with the Democratic candidate pledging to build upon it and Republican candidate vowing to dismantle it . This year the debate continues.

Healthcare and the Presidential campaign 2020

In this and another post, I review and list what I think are some of the most important points in the health care philosophy of each major party candidate, according to information on their official websites.

I am not endorsing either of the candidates, their party ,or their healthcare plans. My intent is to present a non-partisan look at what they have done and propose. If it sounds otherwise, that is unintentional. I’ll give you the links to their sites and encourage you to read them for yourself.

You should also review a post I wrote about the Republican Party healthcare platform.

How to become President inforgraphic
The Presidential pathway from
The incumbent candidate-Republican- Donald J. Trump

Donald J. Trump, owner and former president of The Trump Organization, was elected the 45th U.S. president in 2016. He was born June 14, 1946. Mr. Trump is married to Melania Trump and has 5 children.

 “ Making America Great Again Healthcare

President Donald J. Trump Achievements

The Trump Administration

  • expanded access to Association Health Plans (AHPs) allowing small business to pool risk across states.
  • launched a program to provide the HIV prevention drug PrEP to uninsured patients for free.
  • issued guidance expanding options for individuals with chronic conditions. High deductible plans can now cover products such as insulin, inhalers and statins pre-deductible.
  • issued a rule allowing health care workers to refuse to provide services like abortion, sterilization or assisted suicide, if they cite a religious or conscientious objection.
  • announced the launch of a new COVID-19 Uninsured Program Portal in an effort to cover testing and treatment for uninsured individuals.

As part of the landmark Tax Cuts and Jobs Act President Trump repealed the individual mandate, which forced people to buy expensive insurance and taxed those who couldn’t afford it.

The mandate disproportionately hurt the poor: 80% of those affected made less than $50,000.

As President, Mr. Trump
  • took executive action to strengthen Medicare and reform the Medicare program to stop hospitals from overcharging seniors on their drugs.
  • pressured China to close dangerous loopholes that allowed Chinese fentanyl manufacturers to legally ship the compound worldwide, much of which ended up in the U.S.
  • created a bipartisan opioid commission that issued 56 recommendations to help defeat the opioid crisis.
  • invoked the Defense Production Act, giving power to allocate health care supplies and increase production of necessary products to counter COVID-19. 
  • worked with Congress to stop surprise medical billing.
As President, Mr. Trump signed
  • the bipartisan Tobacco-Free Youth Act to raise the nationwide age for purchasing tobacco and vaping products to 21 years old.
  • the Families First Coronavirus Response Act, expanding the SNAP and WIC programs by adding $500 million, helping pregnant women and those who lost their jobs due to COVID-19.
  • an executive order to modernize flu vaccines and help protect more Americans by promoting new technologies to improve vaccine manufacturing and effectiveness.
  • a bill to extend Veterans Choice Health Care Law.
  • an executive order that increased price and quality transparency in American health care.
Oval Office replica
replica of the Oval Office at the Reagan Presidential Library, photo by Dr. Aletha
Exploring the HEART of healthcare election politics

Thanks for reviewing this overview of Mr. Trump’s health care achievements. I hope you will take the time to review his website for yourself. In another post I will review the views of the Democratic challenger, Joe Biden.

At this time there is still much uncertainty as to how we will be able to vote in November without getting exposed to the coronavirus. Whatever the situation is in your community, I hope you will find a way to participate in this important process, one of our most precious rights and privileges as United States citizens.

a group of lapel buttons, red, white and blue, saying VOTE

This photo and the cover photo of the White House are from the media site, an affiliate which pays this blog a commission for purchases made from this link

Dr Aletha

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