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‘Killer Vees’ score high in life

‘Killer Vees’ score high in life
‘Killer Vees’ score high in life
Dr. Wayne Willis

This is about complementary inspirational ballads that Jimmy V and Dickie V have written with their lives.

Jimmy V would be Jimmy Valvano, the North Carolina State basketball coach who won the NCAA Division I men’s championship in 1983 against almost impossible odds. How can basketball fans forget the video of Coach Valvano, at that game’s final buzzer, running and leaping and galloping around the court, looking for people to hug? And how can we forget his words, two months before his death from metastatic cancer at age 47, in his emotional ESPY Awards “Don’t give up! Don’t ever give up!” speech?

Dickie V is Dick Vitale, a name, face and irrepressible voice synonymous with college basketball. ESPN hired him in its first year, 1979, and he has been exuberantly broadcasting basketball for ESPN for more than four decades. His exclamation “It’s awesome, baby!” about superior plays, players and coaches has insured his epitaph. More importantly, he has used his notoriety to raise almost $50 million for the Valvano Foundation for Cancer Research.

Vitale, 83, was diagnosed last year with adenocarcinoma and several months later with lymphoma.

Yes, both of these “Killer Vees” — giants in the sports world — have earned the right to advise us on playing the game of life. Each has taken his bucket of successes and bucket of adversities and stirred them together and reached three complementary conclusions.

Valvano: “If you laugh, think and cry, that’s a heck of a day.” The third one, weeping, may be a bridge too far for most male admirers.

Vitale: “Perseverance plus passion plus pride equals a win in the game of life.”

Another Vitale aphorism that sticks with you: “A loser is not a person who has lost something. A loser is someone who blames others for being one.”