On April 8, 2009, Los Angeles Angels pitcher Nick Adenhart finally arrived in the big leagues. After years of recovering from Tommy John surgery and working his way up through the minors, the highly touted pitching prospect earned a spot in the Angels' rotation for the 2009 season and delivered the best performance of his career. But just hours after achieving his dream, Adenhart's life was tragically cut short by an alleged drunk driver in an accident that also claimed two of his friends. In this emotional Real Sports/Sports Illustrated report, correspondent Mary Carillo looks at the heartbreaking death of the Angels pitcher and Maryland native, speaking exclusively with Nick's parents, reviewing the tragedy with the lone survivor in Adenhart's car, and talking with Angels players about the effect of his death on the team.
In the sports hotbed of Columbus, Ohio, Friday nights are traditionally all about high-school football and Saturdays are reserved for the Ohio State Buckeyes. But this year, as the Buckeyes play on, Fridays in some areas in and around Columbus have been eerily quiet: no screaming crowds, no high school bands, no cheerleaders and no football. That's because one of the largest school districts in the state recently eliminated all sports and other extracurricular activities due to a lack of funds. As students, parents and others in the community wrestle with the aftermath of this decision, correspondent Jon Frankel talks to those affected and sheds light on a growing nationwide trend of school districts slashing or completely eliminating athletic programs that were an integral part of American public education for generations.
Ashrita Furman, of Queens, NY, holds the Guinness World Record for holding the most world records. Since 1979, he's set 244 official Guinness World Records, and in April 2009 became the first person in history to hold 100 records simultaneously. His wild but incredible achievements include pushing a car 17 miles in 24 hours, walking an astonishing 80 miles with a milk bottle on his head and bouncing a basketball 339 times in just one minute. Furman has gone from self-declared childhood nerd to world-renowned conqueror of physical challenges, all in pursuit of a greater spirituality. Correspondent Bernie Goldberg sits down with the man who literally somersaulted, hopscotched and hula-hooped his way into the history books.
In 2002, Real Sports profiled Detroit Tigers broadcasting legend Ernie Harwell as he worked his 55th and final season behind the microphone in Major League Baseball. Over a career that spanned seven decades and 42 seasons calling games for the Detroit Tigers, Harwell became an integral part of the national pastime, describing some of baseball's most unforgettable moments. Now, seven years later, correspondent Frank Deford revisits the 91-year-old legend, who was recently diagnosed with inoperable cancer.