Just a couple days after the Twitter police silenced the "Rick Rielly" we'd all come to know and love, the real Rick Reilly writes a column that's absurdly Rielly-esque.
Many of you have read it. It's about Matt Steven, the blind kid from Upper Darby, Pa with a 50% free throw percentage who played in a CYO game. Yes, it's a nice story, but unfortunately, it also has all the writerly flourishes that make a Rick Reilly story a Rick Rielly story: Stilted melodrama. Small towns. Handicapped kids. Stale jokes. Bad puns.
Observe the Rielly-iest sections:
• "The packed gym goes silent, save for the tapping of a white cane on the back of the rim. That's right. The shooter's brother is under the hoop, rapping a cane on the rim. That's because the shooter, Matt Steven, is blind."
• "A blind kid was going to be his team's designated shooter. Hey, it's still better than Shaq."
• "He was escorted back to the bench, where he grinned as if he had just kissed the head cheerleader."
• "But Matt already knows what it's like to be hurting. Hurting is being born with two permanently detached retinas. Hurting is having your left eye removed in the fifth grade and the right in the sixth. Hurting is when they send you to a high school for the blind even though the last thing you want is to be around only other blind kids. Matt wants to be around other kids. He aches to be treated normal. Not "He does so great for a blind kid!" Just normal."
• "Nine guys are running around Matt, who's trying to find a way to the bench. Make that 10, since Ryan's already off the bench and pressing. Make that 11, since Joe — tears in his eyes — is trying to get to Matt. Chaos. Joy. Wonder."
• "His teammates call him Shooter. A girl says she heard all about him. He's even thinking about asking somebody to prom...I hope she says yes. Best blind date of her life."
And now we have our own little heartwarming tale of two young upstarts overcoming adversity. Behold the new Fake Rick Reilly Twitter feed. Enjoy it while you can.
Matt Steven Is Blind, But He'll Take The Last Shot [ESPN The Mag]