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"Keep breathing, Crewser, c'mon, keep breathing!"
March 4, 2009 1:01 PM   Subscribe

The Ripples From Little Lake Nellie — "Four months after Cleveland Indian pitchers Tim Crews and Steve Olin died in a boating accident, their families and friends are coming to grips with the grief that still washes over them"

Gary Smith's moving July 1993 piece is all the more poignant after what happened to Marquis Cooper, Corey Smith, and their friends near Tampa, Florida. A boating accident killed Olin and Crews during baseball's 1993 Spring Training. For Smith and Cooper, Some are still holding out hope for their safe recovery, but the U.S. Coast Guard has called off the search for the professional (American) football players. (Stats: Crews, Olin)
posted by IvoShandor (24 comments total) 1 user marked this as a favorite

 
this is such a sad story and my heart goes out to the families of the people lost at sea.
posted by macadangdigety at 1:15 PM on March 4, 2009


the grief that still washes over them

Anyone else find this metaphor a little tasteless?
posted by crayz at 1:30 PM on March 4, 2009


My god, sportswriters sure do like to use a lot of words.
posted by mudpuppie at 1:36 PM on March 4, 2009


My god, sportswriters sure do like to use a lot of words

Games are essentially non-events. People run back and forth doing the same things they've done thousands and thousands of times before. If you're going to write about sports, you have to be the emperor of embellishment.

As for that lake accident: zipping along in the dark in an 18-foot fishing boat with a 150-hp outboard at near full throttle, Crews (driving drunk), Olin, and Ojeda went under a pier they never saw. Ojeda, who was a sloucher, got away with severe scalp wounds. Also sheared off: three four-by-four pilings from the pier.
posted by pracowity at 1:56 PM on March 4, 2009


A death is always tragic, always wrenching for those who knew and loved someone who has now been taken from them in tragic circumstances. Truly.

But that story... blarggh. I don't know if the story of how an intoxicated rich guy drove a boat wide open into a dock at night and killed hisself and a friend, and severely injured another, is worth that much perfumed ink. Nicely written as it was.

Oh wait, they were pro athletes!! Well, now that's poignant with a capital poig. Or maybe it's the gruesomely fascinating fact that it was a double-decapitation.

Sorry for the schadenfreude; they were people and they were loved, but I'll spare some time for reading that pity piece AFTER I've read all the equally tragic stories of the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed in pointless wars or acts of genocide, and their families and friends.

Also I'm a boater and I have trouble sympathizing with those who approach boating so carelessly.

posted by Artful Codger at 1:56 PM on March 4, 2009 [5 favorites]


Oh wait, they were pro athletes!! Well, now that's poignant with a capital poig.

Man, I was all set to care about this, but now I realize that (what with the limited amount of care I'm capable of generating) I just shouldn't bother if I want to be fair to every other tragedy in the world.
posted by shmegegge at 2:03 PM on March 4, 2009


A knowledge of basic boat safety, hazards and the "rules of the road" should be required before they hand you the keys to your new toy.

No class should be needed for "don't drive your boat really really fast, drunk, in the dark," nor would one stop that kind of idiocy. But I can't help but feel bad for the NFL guys; I really think they had no idea what a terrible fucking idea taking a flatbottomed 21-footer into blue water is.

also, sailboats have the right of way. jerks.
posted by ScotchRox at 2:15 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


A death is always tragic, always wrenching for those who knew and loved someone who has now been taken from them in tragic circumstances. Truly.

But that story... blarggh.


Ugh. You know what? A reckless death, a blameless death, a rich guy death, a poor guy death -- their families still suffer. Their kids are still traumatized. Can we agree on that, and not get caught up in the usual smug righteousness?
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 2:38 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Why exactly does this overlong piece of maudlin wallowing need to be here? I mean other than the completely superficial connecting theme of pro athletes dying in boats?
posted by longsleeves at 2:43 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


Well, I thought it was good, as much of Smith's stuff is. So there.
posted by IvoShandor at 3:14 PM on March 4, 2009


We cannot afford to keep losing professional athletes to boating accidents. No franchise should have to go through this.
posted by Flashman at 3:29 PM on March 4, 2009


Struth! Lots of hate for pro athletes, hey IvoShandor?

Next time, replace "pro athlete" with "propeller-head TV personality who reviews propeller-head gadgets."

Replace one type of stupidity with a different type of stupidity. Say, going for a walk and getting your kit off in the freezing snow.

Hey presto, instant empathy!
posted by uncanny hengeman at 3:55 PM on March 4, 2009


> Well, I thought it was good, as much of Smith's stuff is. So there.

It's masterful writing, no question. Really. But this reader is unhappy about that level of craft being expended on what I believe is an unworthy subject. If the players died from falling head-first into a porta-pottie during a post-practice party, the grief of their family would be no less real or intense. But would Gary show up 4 months later to write about it? Could you make it even partway thru the article without sniggering?
posted by Artful Codger at 4:29 PM on March 4, 2009


It's masterful writing, no question.

Me. I question.
posted by mudpuppie at 4:34 PM on March 4, 2009


You know what? You don't have to waste a tear for these guys. But it really isn't about them.

It's about the people that loved them. And it really doesn't matter what is in the bank account or what one does or doesn't do for a living. Losing a loved one hurts like hell no matter what.
posted by St. Alia of the Bunnies at 4:38 PM on March 4, 2009 [1 favorite]


This piece at Slate is a good intro to Gary Smith. Sure, he can be mawkish at times but he really does go for the bigger story in the Red Smith tradition of sitting down at the typewriter and opening a vein.
posted by grounded at 4:42 PM on March 4, 2009


I'll spare some time for reading that pity piece AFTER I've read all the equally tragic stories of the hundreds of thousands of innocents killed in pointless wars or acts of genocide, and their families and friends.

You can find those stories in the pages of Pointless Wars and Acts of Genocide Illustrated. SI tends to focus on stories about athletes.

Games are essentially non-events. People run back and forth doing the same things they've done thousands and thousands of times before.

Well, yes and no. Sometimes a player or a team does something that has never been done before—break the long-jump record by two feet, catch a football on top of his helmet to set up the winning touchdown in the Super Bowl, score two goals in stoppage time to win the championship of Europe—and a really good sportswriter can find larger meaning in such phenomena. Or just tell a good story.
posted by stargell at 4:51 PM on March 4, 2009


Well, I thought it was good, as much of Smith's stuff is. So there.

Sorry for my petulance above, Ivo. I was hungry and cranky. Shoulda just moved on without releasing my inner jerk.
posted by longsleeves at 7:14 PM on March 4, 2009


Oh man I hate it when they

----> Next
posted by tomble at 8:45 PM on March 4, 2009


Break it up into little

----> Next
posted by tomble at 8:45 PM on March 4, 2009


chunks instead of a long article.
posted by tomble at 8:46 PM on March 4, 2009


@longsleeves: meh, no biggie, I just felt compelled to respond.

The reason I like sportswriting (besides having worked as a journalist) is that it is rare for reporters to be able to inject creativity into their work, sportswriters do it regularly. I do understand that some just dislike sports, and hey, I don't think pro athletes are worth the sums they make, but society seems to. I don't think the story tried to excuse the irresponsible actions that led to Olin and Crews' deaths. I also think the story wasn't really about them, per se, it was about their families and friends.

That said what happened to Olin and Crews, and Cooper and Smith is still sad. The reason I posted the story was because of the Tampa incident, that just made me think of this previous boating accident involving pro athletes. And, I agree completely with tomble.
posted by IvoShandor at 9:05 PM on March 4, 2009


ah yes crayz, I actually thought this was going to be a post about tastless metaphors in the press.

but no its just about some dead sports people. move along...
posted by mary8nne at 4:48 AM on March 5, 2009


I did like how the media gave respect to the familys of these players. Not trying to pry into their feelings or personal greviencing. I also hear that there might of been digestive poisioning that took place, which sadenes me more that this was done vindictively.
posted by gatornation at 7:35 AM on March 6, 2009


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