Our Final Sports Story Sunday… Three years ago, on July 16th, 2017, NCTV17 released our very first Sports Story Sunday. In the time since, we’ve had the privilege of chronicling feats of strength, perseverance and camaraderie.
It’s been an incredible avenue to share these deeply personal and sometimes emotional stories from members of our community. The stories have left us amazed and in awe of the power of the athlete, the team and the sport to bring resounding strength and determination to the forefront.
This is the final episode of Sports Story Sunday and we like to take a moment and look back.
Sports Story Sunday began with the 2017 Boccia USA Nationals, which included Paralympians from across the globe.
That first story set a tone for the inclusivity and diversity Sports Story Sunday would routinely go on to display.
In October of 2017, we explored the culture of the Islamic faith through the eyes of a young cross country runner participating in her middle school race while wearing a hijab.
In May of 2019, we caught up with Moe Mitchell. A Naperville-born entrepreneur who started his own business while in high school at Neuqua Valley before expanding it at North Central College.
And in August of last year, we were left stunned by the sheer strength of Idessa Butler as she shattered personal best and stereotypes in the weight room.
Over the last three years, we found incredible athletes of all age, from the Wittenburg siblings taking flight to the Lucibello sisters making leaps and bounds.
To finding ourselves at a 20 year old game of softball at Gartner Park and grannies that downright know how to hoop.
We were shown time and time again the term ‘athlete’ knows no bounds… not age, not gender, not ethnicity.
As we reminisce, several stories stand out in capturing the true meaning of the word competitor.
The struggles and triumphs of Jib Chutipong is an inspiration to all. Caught in the 2004 Indian Ocean tsunami that killed hundreds of thousands of people, Jib overcame her fear of water with determination and some help from her teammates with the Naperville Waves.
We met Brian Dickhut, who suffered through an often debilitation back injury, only to turn a perceived weakness into a strength by competing on the world stage in the triathlon.
In the spring of 2019, we discovered the incredibly talented Lane Cudmore, who goes by her super hero name, Ski Flash. The skier not only crushed the competition but warmed hearts on her way down the mountain en route to a silver medal at the special Olympics.
Lastly, and most recently, we’ve had time to revisit some of Naperville’s most accomplished professional athletes. After spotlighting Benet Academy star Frank Kaminsky in May, the NBA player was just recently named the Big Ten Network’s player of the decade. Neuqua Valley and North Central stand out Broc Rutter was drafted into the NFL by the San Francisco 49ers. While crosstown rivals Nick Solak and Nicky Lopez will soon share the diamond at the major league level… just from opposing dugouts.
The journey we’ve been on and the stops along the way have been nothing short of incredible. Of course, none of this would be possible without Sports Story Sunday’s sponsor, Edward-Elmhurst Health, who brought you all 150 episodes, including this final goodbye.
So from all of us at NCTV17, thank you for joining us for story time each and every Sunday – reporting for Sports Story Sunday, I’m Kevin Jackman,