We were made to thrive
Casting Crowns has a new song out that hits a lot of really good notes – and it has nothing to do with lead singer Mark Hall.
“We Were Made to Thrive” is poignant in a lot of ways.
Whether it is Charlotte Brown or Rory McIlroy, Andrew McCutchen or Harli White, as the song goes:
We know we were made for so much more
Than ordinary lives,
It’s time for us to more than just survive
We were made to thrive
McIlroy just won his third major in professional golf before the age of 26, the third-youngest to ever do so, behind Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.
McCutchen is the reigning National League MVP and it putting up more MVP-type numbers as the Pirates march toward a possible second straight playoff appearance.
Brown is a high school pole vaulter in Texas who is blind.
White stared death in the face six years ago and recently made history.
McIlroy shot 80 (37-43) on Sunday in the 2011 Masters, the worst by a third-round leader in tournament history. He finished tied for 15th at 4-under after entering the day 12-under and the leader by four.
Two months later he lapped the field at the U.S. Open at Congressional, shooting 16-under to win by eight.
He reached 13-under during the second round, becoming the first person in tournament history to hit that number.
McIlroy also set a Open record of 199 for 54 holes.
McCutchen is the face of the Pirates and, hopefully, will be until the day he retires.
The first-round pick, 11th overall, in 2005, is signed through the 2017 season with a club option in 2018.
Last year he had 185 hits, 38 doubles, five triples, 21 homers and 84 RBIs with a .317 average, a .404 OBP, .508 slugging and .912 OPS. He stole 27 bases and was caught 10 times.
This year, through his 95 games played, he has 116 hits, 28 doubles, five triples, 17 homers, 61 RBIs, a .320 average, .418 OBP, .566 slugging and .984 OPS. He has stolen 15 bases and has yet to be caught.
Yeah, he’s really good and that outfield should be really good for a really long time.
Brown tied for fourth in the Class 3A pole vault at the Texas State Track and Field Championships in May.
She cleared 11-feet at the University of Texas.
At 3 months old, Brown was diagnosed with infant cataracts and her vision slowly worsened.
She jumped 10-6 as a sophomore and placed eighth at the state meet. But, after two eye surgeries, her eyesight went dark.
She has a seeing-eye dog, Vador, that leads her around.
Brown has her two coaches from Emory Rains High School positioned behind and next to the mat and is also guided down the runway by a high-pitched beeper she plants just above the plant box, underneath the mat. Since last state meet, she learned to run straight down the runway by using a strip of indoor-outdoor carpet for contrast.
“Most people might think it’s frustrating to have to change all the time, but essentially, that’s what life is,” she told Melissa Isaacson of espnW.com. “Life is changing all the time. So I treat it as more of a challenge, and when I lost the rest of my vision, I just looked at it as another opportunity to overcome something bigger.
“I thought, on the bright side, I can’t get any blinder, so the method I’ve figured out should work the rest of my vaulting career.”
Larry McFarlin is the vault coach at Paris High School and also vaulted in college.
“I tell the Charlotte Brown story at least once a day,” he told Isaacson. “It’s a miracle what she does. When she’s running down the runway counting steps and she doesn’t know where the box is or where the bar is or where her body is in space, it magnifies her accomplishments tenfold.
“It’s one of the most technical and difficult and dangerous event in athletics, and she chose that one. … If some kid walks up to me with attitude, I say ‘Let me tell you about attitude.’ Charlotte doesn’t have a clue the lives she has touched.”
Add one more.
White was 12-years-old on April 5, 2008 when she sat behind the wheel in a midget sprint car, making her first competitive start. During the race at the track along I-44 Oklahoma City, the car turned on its side as she skidded along a wall and a fire broke out.
She was trapped inside as track officials attempted to extinguish the flames.
Her father Charlie couldn’t get her out and, it appeared, was going to watch his daughter die.
Donnie Ray Crawford was on the pole for the next race. He heard of the fire and, clothed in his fireproof helmet and suit, raced across the track and right into the flames.
“I reached into the car,” he told the Oprah Winfrey Network three years after the accident. “I grabbed the seat belt, and I was able to grab her and free her from it. I pulled her out of the car. She was still on fire, and I laid on her to smother it out.”
White, who later said she knew she was going to die and gave up, was alive.
She received third- and fourth-degree burns over almost 50 percent of her body. She underwent multiple skin-graft surgeries. And, after months and months of brutal rehab, White said she was going to race again.
She began racing again, sometimes against Crawford, her hero, her mentor.
The morning of Jan. 14, 2012, Crawford was shot to death in his home by his maternal grandfather, Daniel Garcia.
“I try to honor him by doing the best that I can do, and by winning as many races as I can,” White said to ESPN’s Tom Rinaldi earlier this year.
That turned into a championship. White won the OCRS sprint car 2013 season championship in Wainwright, Okla. and became the first female driver in Plains region history to capture a sprint car title.
Um, yeah, she’s a stud.
(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org and followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike)