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123 Aug 21 '19
In September, espnWs weekly essay series will focus on college football. Amari Cooper Youth Jersey .On April 27, 2011, I was a freshman at the University of Alabama when a tornado ripped through the heart of Tuscaloosa, Alabama, killing 43 people and injuring many.I remember running to 15th Street early the next morning to try to help, and the buildings were completely demolished. Krispy Kreme was gone. McDonalds was nowhere to be found. All of the rows of apartments near a local hospital were left like a war zone.When news spread of the terrible tragedy in Tuscaloosa, there was an urgency to help those who were without power, food, water, clothes or homes. Even though the University of Alabama campus was forced to end the 2011 school year early, I still decided to live in my dorm without electricity, and many students and athletes stayed on campus to help with the cleanup.I will always remember what Alabama coach Nick Saban told his players after the storm: We cant just be a team for them on Saturdays. The fans are with us in the best times, and we have to be with them in the worst of times.Besides coach Sabans players stepping up, colleges from cities in California, Oklahoma and many other states sent students to Tuscaloosa to help rebuild.In spite of our fierce in-state rivalry with Auburn University, Auburn students were among the first to arrive in Tuscaloosa. That day, the 364 days of state competition didnt matter -- saving lives did.A group of students from the University of Tennessee came down to help too. We worked on a house, toured the campus, shared stories of the tornado and ate together.Although most of them were dressed in orange-and-white T-shirts and Vols hats, and I was wearing my white Alabama tee, clothes that would normally label and separate us were unimportant. We were all serving the same community and became a family.Four years later, we witnessed this type of support during South Carolinas tragic flooding. Louisiana State University Tigers running back Leonard Fournette donated his jersey and helmet, which sold for over $100,000 in an auction that supported South Carolinas flood relief efforts.When the LSU-South Carolina game couldnt be played in Columbia, South Carolina, because of the flooding, the Tigers graciously hosted the game and gave all of the proceeds from the game tickets to the Gamecocks. They even had their own band play the South Carolina fight song.Now, we see colleges return the favor as Baton Rouge, Louisiana, experiences the worst national disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012.Even though heated rivals compete against each other on Saturdays, and the days leading up to games are filled with smack talk, those teams still come together to support each other.Thats what is so amazing about the college football world. When coaches, players and fans put aside the statistics, titles and rivalries and come together to love and serve one another in a time of need, thats beautiful. In moments like these, its proof that its more than just a game.So when the final whistle blows, the clock ticks down to zero, and a team is crowned the national champion at the end of this upcoming season, just remember that its not always what you see on the field that should make you proud of your team -- its about the actions performed off the field that are worth far more and will be remembered much longer than a title.Hannah Stephens works for ESPN Radio 97.7 The Zone in Huntsville, Alabama. She hosts her new show on Saturday morning called, Thats What She Said With Hannah Stephens. She graduated from the University of Alabama in May 2014 with a degree in sports broadcasting. Chuck Howley Jersey . The All-Pro lineman got the leg bent under him while trying to make a tackle during the first half of a 22-20 overtime loss at Miami on Thursday night. The medical staff initially thought hed torn the ligament, and the test a day later in Cincinnati confirmed it. Michael Irvin Cowboys Jersey . -- Derrick Rose shook off poor shooting early to hit clutch shots late and Carlos Boozer had 20 points and 13 rebounds to lead the Chicago Bulls to a 104-95 preseason victory over the Oklahoma City Thunder on Wednesday night. . MORITZ, Switzerland -- Fog prevented downhill racers from getting their Olympic dress rehearsal. The Waratahs need big numbers in the final two rounds of the Super Rugby competition to make the finals. They require plenty of points, tries and maximum bonus points to continue their campaign into the finals.Then again, big numbers are all the flavour with the Waratahs as -- unbeknown to many -- they are about to reach a major historical milestone.They will play their 999th game against the Hurricanes in Sydney this weekend, and hit the thousand mark when they face the Blues in Auckland on Friday week.As Australian rugbys historical records are a bit sketchy, how do we know with any certainty it will be NSWs 1000th game?Thank the exceptional skills and dedication of the NSW Rugby Union/Waratahs honorary statistician, Steve Johnson, who has spent years getting the provinces historical records in order.In his spare time, Johnson has devoted himself to tracking down intricate details of every game NSW have played- starting with their first match against Queensland in Sydney in August, 1882 right up to last weekends game against the Sunwolves?in Tokyo.This has meant camping himself in libraries, going through hundreds of newspaper microfilms to find team details, scores, crowd attendances, match venues, line-up changes as well as verifying try-scorers and successful goal-kickers.He has tracked down rare match programs, found annual reports, anything that could help him fill in the many gaps. That even meant going through newspaper reports in the days leading up to a game and also after to check if there had been any player withdrawals, and if so, who the replacements were. Any snippet of information was invaluable.You name it, Johnson has found it, including the birthdates of virtually every player who has appeared in the NSW colours. Thats a considerable feat, considering NSW in their 998 matches have fielded 1631 players, and been led by 167 different captains. Due to Johnsons efforts, NSW Rugby now has a comprehensive record of every game and each player who has represented the state.The amount of detail in Johnsons files is incredible. It appears nothing has been overlooked, and all would have involved painstaking, persistent research. This includes listing the NSW caps from one (Jim Brodie) to 1,631 (Ned Hanigan), chronicling every coachs record from the Second World War, and even ensuring that every match replacement gets due recognition.Johnson, who derived his fascination of sporting numbers through his cricket-playing days, says he has relished the journey.Yes, its been a real labour of love, Johnson told ESPN.So we can now say with confidence that NSW boast an overall 58 per cent success rate from 584 victories, 390 losses and 24 draws, with an average score of 20-16 in their favour.Their biggest score was against the Czech Republic at Slavia Athletic Ground in 2005 when they won 94-3; Cyril Towers is their most prolific try scorer with 51, and the most tries scored in one game is eight by Charlie Easstes against Toowoomba at Toowoomba Showground in 1947. Daryl Johnston Jersey. Benn Robinson has the most state caps with 155, and top of the point-scoring tally is Matt Burke with 1,172. The most individual points in a game goes to Peter Hewat with 34 from three tries, two conversions and five penalty goals against the Bulls in 2005.There is also some real trainspotting trivia.The most popular name? A dead heat between Smith and Miller, with 13 each.Some of the more offbeat grounds NSW has played at include Dilworths Paddock, Cooks Garden, The Greenyards, Reclamation Field and the Motordrome.The largest home crowd is 61,823 against the Crusaders at the Sydney Olympic Stadium two years ago, but thats topped by 62,000 which saw them play England during the epic 1927-28 NSW tour of Great Britain.Johnson began the search for these and other facts after attending the NSW-Queensland match at Concord Oval in 1995.I hadnt been to a NSW game in years, and went with a mate of mine. In the match program, there was an article which was asking who had played the most times for NSW against Queensland, Johnson said.There was a bit of confusion over who it actually was. That intrigued me, as did something else in the program about how one of the states leading officials John Mulford was starting up the NSW archives and was looking for volunteers. I didnt know John. But I rang him out of the blue, said I was interested in history and sports statistic, and that I was willing to help.He said: Not a problem, Ill put you to work.So I started at match No. 1 and worked my way through. There were numerous obstacles, as many of the NSW Rugby Unions records had been destroyed in a fire at their Sydney offices in the early 1970s. Some went missing and years later found in boxes that had been stored under the Concord Oval grandstand.But Johnson persevered and eventually pieced it together. Driving him on was constantly discovering new information about the countrys biggest rugby province- including that there had a high proportion of players- more than 300- who appeared only once for the state.In the early days, the guys who were playing club football had to buy their own jersey, Johnson said.And if they got picked for NSW, they had to buy the state jersey as well. Not a lot of them could afford it. Thats why there was a fair turnover of players in the early days. Also the best team wasnt always selected because it wasnt just availability but also affordability.The professional game has changed that- but it still relies on the true believers who do it all for nothing, such as Steve Johnson a volunteer who has never chased accolades, to give the code a proper footing and provide perspective.Few have worked harder for the Waratahs, and his research revolving around the 1000th game discovery deserves the highest accolade. ' ' '