Life continues around the wide world of sports

“Is anyone among you sick? Let him call for the elders of the church, and let them pray over him, anointing him with oil in the name of the Lord. And the prayer of faith will save the one who is sick, and the Lord will raise him up. And if he has committed sins, he will be forgiven. Therefore, confess your sins to one another and pray for one another, that you may be healed. The prayer of a righteous person has great power as it is working.” – James 5:14-16

George Vargo was brought back to life three times.

A trifecta, you might say.

The former longtime Weirton Madonna boys’ basketball coach suffered a massive heart attack 12 days ago.

Thanks to his wife, paramedics, doctors and nurses and, most importantly, answered prayer, God walked Vargo through the toughest of times long enough to be stable, have his carotid artery cleaned, a triple bypass performed and will soon be going home.

He has a long way to go, with many hours of rehab in his future, but, he has a future as a husband, father, grandfather and friend.

His voice is stronger, as is his body and heart.


I know there are a lot of people who don’t understand prayer and his it works.

They don’t understand faith and what that really is and how people rely on it.

“Now faith is the substance of things hoped for, the evidence of things not seen.” -Hebrews 11:1

His days of coaching were over when he thankfully stepped away from being the men’s basketball coach at Franciscan University of Steubenville.

Vargo said at the time that is was far easier for him to step away from the Barons than it was stepping away from the Blue Dons nine months prior.

It is now time to recover, recoup and get on with his life.

He sends his heartfelt thanks to everyone for their prayers for he and his family, along with the doctors and nurses during this time and no one sees coming.

I was fortunate to have three people send me daily text updates on coach.

Send him a card, he would love to hear from you.

The family of Will Smith needs prayer.

No, not that Will Smith.

This Will Smith was an Ohio State Buckeye and played 10 years in the NFL for the New Orleans Saints.

He was shot dead Saturday night at the age of 34, apparently over a traffic accident.

Smith was drafted No. 18 by the Saints out of Ohio State, where he was the 2003 Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year.

He led the Saints in sacks from 2005-07 and finished with the fourth-most in team history with 67.5

Smith was a father to three and a husband to Racquel, who was shot in the leg twice in the altercation.

From cbssports.com:

Smith, 34, was driving his Mercedes SUV with his wife when Smith was rear-ended by a Hummer.

Following the collision, the two parties involved “exchanged words, at which time the driver of the Hummer produced a handgun and shot the male victim (Smith) multiple times and his 34-year-old wife twice in the right leg,” the New Orleans Police Department said.

According to the Times-Picayune, Smith was found “slumped over the steering wheel of his vehicle, which appeared to have a gunshot hole in the windshield” and pronounced dead at the scene. Smith’s wife was taken to the hospital.

The driver of the Hummer, 30-year-old Cardell Hayes, has been charged with second-degree murder per the New Orleans Police Department.

I have said in this column many times that we just don’t value life far too often and the murder of Smith proves the point again.

A husband, father and son lost his life over a traffic accident.

A traffic accident.

The statement from the Saints organization:

“Our thoughts and prayers are with Will and his wife Racquel, but more importantly with their children, William, Wynter and Lisa who are suffering and just starting to realize and deal with an unimaginable loss. We are devastated and saddened by Will’s tragic and preventable death due to a senseless act that will leave a lasting scar on our community forever. Will was more than an exceptional football player-he was a father, a husband, a son, a brother and teammate to so many and an inspiration to countless more. He will be greatly missed by all those he touched and impacted both on and off the football field and his legacy will continue to shine. The Saints family is hurting and devastated as it has lost a member too young and too soon.”

I saw someone kicked out of a high school sporting event.

Then, not so long after, was handcuffed, out in the back of a vehicle and taken away.

All because this person could not keep its mouth shut at a high school sporting event.

“Those who guard their lips preserve their lives, but those who speak rashly will come to ruin.” – Proverbs 13:3

“Those who guard their mouths and their tongues keep themselves from calamity.” – Proverbs 21:23

I know people really don’t like to hear this – but, really, settle down. It’s a game and numbers say 96-ish percent of those on the athletic venue will not play in college.

I understand the passion. I get it.

Please, though, let’s all see the big picture.

This reminds me of a picture of two 5-year-olds playing baseball.

“I see your dad is still yelling at you from the stands,” one says.

“Yeah,” says the other, “he thinks I’m going pro next year.”

Anyone else see the Jordan Spieth meltdown on No. 12 Sunday to hand The Masters to Danny Willett.

Mind you, Willett shot 67 in a bogey-free round, but Spieth’s 7 on the par 3 reminds us all that once you have a game plan, you stick to it.

He admitted he didn’t do that on No. 12, and it cost him a place in history as only the fourth player to win back-to-back green jackets, joining Jack Nicklaus, Nick Faldo and Tiger Woods.

Finally, I sure hope Cam Newton (and many other athletes) how you give an interview after a loss.

No loss can be tougher than what Spieth went through.

Yet, he was professional in giving the interview.

He didn’t walk off or blame someone.

Spieth stood there and answered questions, which was the last thing he wanted to do right then and there.

You have to own it.

Spieth owned it.

Can’t say the same for Cam.

The Pirates lost two of three in Cincinnati for one reason – 5 for 35 with runners in scoring position (.143 average) and, because of that, left 34 runners on base.

In the sweep of St. Louis, the Buccos were 6 for 26 with RISP (.231) and left 25 on base.

That makes the 4-2 Pirates 11 for 61 (.180), having left 69 runners on base.

I understand it’s only six games, but this is something that easily could be a concern.

(Mathison, a Weirton resident, is the sports editor of the Herald-Star and The Weirton Daily Times and can be contacted at mmathison@heraldstaronline.com, followed on Twitter at @MathisonMike and is on the radio weekday mornings from 7 a.m. to 9 a.m. with Joey Klepack and from 8 a.m. to 10 a.m. Saturdays on WEIR-AM)


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