Yo, come bowling on Sunday and help this little guy fight cancer

Yo, come bowling on Sunday and help this little guy fight cancer

This little guy is Shane Metzgar. Shane is in midst of battling a rare form of childhood cancer called alveolar rhabdomyosarcoma. Let me rephrase that. Shane is in the midst of doing to his rare form of childhood cancer what Matt Stairs did to Jonathan Broxton in 2008 and what Sheldon Brown did to Reggie Bush in 2006, which is to say he’s going to absolutely obliterate it. You can read more about Shane here and here.

Shane’s father Paul and I grew up together. More precisely, Paul and I competed against one another from about the age of 8 until we became teammates at the age of 12. Paul grew up playing soccer for Olney. I grew up playing for Fox Chase. Our teams would face each other multiple times a year. Eventually, both of our families moved to Cheltenham and we played together for the first time as 7th graders. Paul always competed his ass off. Based on his first few months of treatment Shane has inherited his father’s will to win.

To this day, 30-years or so after we first played against each other, Paul and I remain friends. The Metzgars are a Philly sports family. Paul’s father coached girls’ basketball and volleyball for many years at Martin Luther King Jr. High School. In fact, his MLK girls’ teams won back-to-back public league titles in the early 90’s. Paul’s sister was a decorated soccer player who went on to play collegiately at Stetson. His brother Dan recorded 20 assists in a single season while playing soccer at Cheltenham and played for Bloomsburg. What I am trying to say is that Shane comes from a family accustomed to competing and having success.

I should also mention that with any luck Shane will inherit his mom Michele’s smarts (she has a master’s in public health).

You may be asking why you are reading about this on this website. Well, the bonds that formed when Paul and I were teammates many years ago are still strong. When a teammate is down you rally around them and help. This is a Philly story if there ever was one – we love the underdog. We love and support people with Philly roots. We love athletes who have heart. No one has more heart than Shane. No one is going to fight harder. He’s one of us.

With that said, I am writing to encourage you to join Shane and his family and friends for a fundraiser at North Bowl this Sunday from 4-8PM. Tickets are $50 (kids under 10 are free) and includes bowling and food. There will also be a silent auction with lots of great Philly sports items up for grabs.

[reserve your ticket here to help Shane fight cancer | HelpShaneFightCancer on Facebook]

If you are unable to make it to North Bowl on Sunday then you can still help by visiting Shane’s GiveForward website and making a donation. Funds will go towards covering any out of pocket costs insurance won't cover and to raise awareness about childhood cancer. Any funds that are not used will go to CHOP's oncology department and to THON, Penn State University's childhood cancer fundraiser.

On behalf of the Metzgar family and their friends we appreciate any support you can offer as we #HelpShaneFightCancer.

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Crash kills Nebraska punter, former Michigan State punter

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USA Today Images

Crash kills Nebraska punter, former Michigan State punter

WAUKESHA, Wis. -- Nebraska punter Sam Foltz and former Michigan State punter Mike Sadler have died in a car crash in Wisconsin after working at a kicking clinic, a sheriff's department official said Sunday. LSU kicker Colby Delahoussaye was injured in the crash.

Waukesha County Sheriff's Lt. Thom Moerman said speed was likely a factor in the single-vehicle crash that happened around 11:45 p.m. Saturday.

The 24-year-old Sadler, of Grand Rapids, Michigan, was driving. He and 22-year-old Foltz, of Greeley, Nebraska, both died at the scene. Delahoussaye, 21 of New Iberia, Louisiana, was also a passenger. He was treated at Waukesha Memorial Hospital and released. A statement from LSU said his injuries were minor and that he was scheduled to return home Monday.

Moerman said in a statement that Sadler lost control on the wet pavement, left the roadway and struck a tree.

The University of Nebraska said Sunday the team will skip this week's planned Big Ten media days in Chicago because of Foltz's death. Officials with Michigan State didn't immediately respond to a request for comment.

Foltz was a three-year starter for the Nebraska team and last year he was named the Big Ten's punter of the year. Foltz graduated from Nebraska with a degree in agronomy in May. He led the Big Ten in punting last year at 44.2 yards per kick and ranked fifth in school history (42.6).

Nebraska Coach Mike Riley said Foltz was respected on the team, and had a positive influence on everyone he interacted with.

"The young men in our football program are hurting but I know that their strength of character and resolve will bring us together and we will honor Sam every day moving forward," Riley said.

Several hundred friends and teammates of Foltz gathered outside Memorial Stadium in Lincoln Sunday afternoon to remember him. Several players talked about how hard Foltz' worked and his faith in God.

"Sam was a kind and thoughtful young man who was a leader on the playing field, in the classroom, and in his community," Nebraska Chancellor Ronnie D. Green said in a statement. "He was an exemplary student-athlete who grew as a player and as a person on his path to recent completion of his degree in agronomy from the University of Nebraska-Lincoln, and anyone who knew him can testify that he had an enduring influence on those around him."

Sadler was a four-year starter and four-time academic All-American at Michigan State. He finished his college playing career after the 2014 season. He drew something of a cult following during his playing days because of his sense of humor and wit.

"I just asked my waitress what sport she thought I played. Her answer? Disk golf. Time to reevaluate my life," Sadler once tweeted.

He helped get his own mock Heisman Trophy candidacy rolling one season by pushing the hashtag (hash)sadler4heisman. He would also regularly exchange funny lines on Twitter with the (at)FauxPelini account, a popular parody of the former Nebraska and current Youngstown State coach Bo Pelini.

"Mike impacted so many people not only as a football player, but also from an academic standpoint and in the community as well," Michigan State coach Mark Dantonio said in a statement. "The world has lost a rising star who dreamed big and was accomplishing those dreams, one after another. He was one of those people that brightened your day."

Dan Tracy with Kohl's Kicking said both Sadler and Foltz had been working at a weekend clinic at the camp in Wisconsin. Tracy said the camp ended early Sunday after an announcement about the deaths.

A statement from kicking camp director Jamie Kohl said the staff was mourning with the players' families and football programs.

"We mourn today with all of the people who were better men and women for knowing Sam and Mike," Kohl said. "Our thoughts and prayers are with them."

Andres Blanco fractures left index finger, likely heading to 15-day DL

Andres Blanco fractures left index finger, likely heading to 15-day DL

PITTSBURGH --- Utility infielder Andres Blanco suffered a fractured left index finger in the fifth inning of Sunday’s game against the Pittsburgh Pirates and is expected to be placed on the 15-day disabled list Monday.

Blanco was injured when Pirates right fielder Gregory Polanco slid into his hand during a play at third base. Blanco was making his second straight start at third in place of Maikel Franco, who was out with a sore left wrist after being hit by a pitch Friday from Pirates right-hander Gerrit Cole.

Franco took over at third for Blanco, who hit a solo home run off Pirates rookie right-hander Jameson Taillon in the first inning. Blanco is hitting .271 with four homers in 75 games this season.

Meanwhile, catcher Cameron Rupp was not in the lineup after being hit in the left ear flap of his batting helmet on Saturday by a pitch from Pirates rookie right-hander Tyler Glasnow. Carlos Ruiz started behind the plate.

Rupp passed Major League Baseball’s concussion protocol both Saturday and Sunday.

"If you get hit in the head, you probably want to take a little bit more precaution than if it was another part of your body,” Rupp said.