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Dublin: 14 °C Wednesday 19 June, 2019

The week's best sportswriting, featuring the former Wasps player who defeated paralysis

Enjoy some of our favourite sporting reads from the past seven days.

Cricket - The Ashes 2009 - npower Fifth Test - Day Four - England v Australia - The Brit Oval Andrew Strauss, his wife Ruth, and their children Sam and Luca in 2009. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

“What the tests showed and the oncologist told them was that Ruth had a rare disease — ALK-positive non-small-cell lung cancer. And it was incurable. What Andrew Strauss felt was sheer hopeless devastation. Afterwards he would try to find the word that best described how he felt. Inconsolable. Then he looked across at this woman he loved, this 45-year-old Australian who cried while watching films on television and who was always moved by the suffering of others. Now he saw no tears. No self-pity. No ‘why me?’ Turning to the removals guys who were filling the new house with their old stuff she said: ‘How about a cup of tea?’ ‘Yeah,’ they said unknowingly, ‘love one.’ She made them tea. Ruth Strauss’s life would end one year and 19 days later. Three months have passed since her death. Andrew and the boys, Sam (13) and Luca (10), are doing their best.”

– Former England cricketer Andrew Strauss opens up to David Walsh of The Times about his wife’s death.

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“It is the rarity of stories like his that helps explain why Adams devotes much of his energy to running Sporting Chance, the charity he set up in 2000 to support sportspeople battling addiction. It now covers a broad range of welfare issues, with addiction making up only around 30% of its work. Other issues, such as anxiety, mental illness and relationship break-ups, are all part of Sporting Chance’s remit. In 2016, it took more than 7,000 calls about historic sex abuse cases. The range of issues and addictions – social media and gaming are becoming increasingly prevalent – strengthens Adams’ conviction that a holistic approach to treatment is essential. As he is at pains to point out, every individual’s journey is different.”

– The Daily Telegraph’s Charlie Eccleshare sits down with former Arsenal and England captain Tony Adams.

* * *

Trump flies in to discuss luxury resort 17-time US Masters winner Donald Trump. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

“On 17 March 2013, Trump tweeted he’d won the club championship again at Trump International. But the plaque for that year lists the winner as ‘Tom Roush.’ The catch? It wasn’t really the club championship at all. Trump won the ‘Super Seniors Club Championship,’ which at most clubs is reserved for players 60 and older. Something to be proud of, sure, but not within a Super Walmart of beating the best young players in the club. The difference between ‘Club Champion’ and ‘Super Senior Club Champion’ is the difference between Vanna White and Betty White.”

– In an extract from his new book — published this week on The Guardian — Rick Reilly explains what Donald Trump’s golf game tells us about the US president.

* * *

“Sometimes the little voices in my head can start to chat to each other and be quite negative and start playing on your mind. I started working with Kate after that and I think it’s been of huge benefit to me. There’s absolutely no shame in helping your mental health and really having a good mental mindset towards improving what’s going on up here (points at her head). In all walks of life, we all need that little bit of help.”

– Fresh from her recent bronze medal success at the European Indoor Athletics Championships, Ciara Mageean speaks to the BBC’s John Haughey.

* * * 

Watford v Fulham - Premier League - Vicarage Road Fulham's defeat to Watford on Tuesday confirmed their relegation from the Premier League. Source: Nigel French

“So much of what went wrong this season can be traced back to last summer. Fulham pursued an over-ambitious transfer policy, signing £100million of talented players from all over Europe. It looked good, persuading plenty of people — including this reporter — that they had the quality for a top-half finish this season. But we know now that it was too much too soon, a sign of a club trying to run before it could walk.”

– For The Independent, Jack Pitt-Brooke examines Fulham’s relegation from the Premier League after just one season back in the English top flight.

* * *

“Tottenham’s new home is, in time, supposed to change that, to turn Spurs into a club that can compete with the elite not just on the field, but off it. The effects of the stadium, though, will resonate beyond Spurs’ balance sheet. The club has long claimed it can be a ‘catalyst’ for the regeneration of the neighbourhood around it. At a news media presentation on Tuesday, the club’s executive director, Donna Cullen, opened with a photograph of a burning car: a reminder of the riots that scarred the area — before spreading across the capital and the country — in 2011.”

– Rory Smith of The New York Times examines the wider implications for the local community of Tottenham Hotspur’s new stadium.

* * *

Rugby Union - Amlin Challenge Cup - Pool Four - London Wasps v Bayonne - Adams Park Ed Jackson with Wasps in 2013. Source: PA Archive/PA Images

“He is now preparing for two imposing climbs which, in November, culminates in him scaling the 6,500m Mera Peak in the Himalayas as he strives to raise enough money to build a spinal injury unit in Nepal. Sitting in Jackson’s garden, on a gorgeous day near Bath, it’s easy to share his good humour. But it is impossible not to be moved by the sobering magnitude of everything he overcame. Remarkable courage and hope define the former No 8, who played for Bath, Doncaster, London Welsh, Wasps and the Dragons.”

– The Guardian’s Donald McRae speaks to former Wasps player Ed Jackson, who was told he would never walk again after an accident in 2017.

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“Put yourself in Rodgers’ shoes — in the shoes of a player who eats, sleeps, breathes the sport. As some sources put it, ‘How do you think he felt?’ Of course he’d seize control. Rodgers may not be a Tom Brady-like locker room presence, but to one former offensive teammate, he’s still ‘by far the best quarterback, skills-wise, in the history of the NFL.’ And it was on McCarthy to manage that, provide leadership and make his quarterback’s life as stress-free as possible. Do everything in his power to let that talent shine.”

– Bleacher Report’s Tyler Dunne on the doomed marriage of Aaron Rodgers and Mike McCarthy at the Green Bay Packers.

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