From Russia With Gold

Paralympic sled hockey gold medalist Dan McCoy checks in after a whirlwind journey to Sochi.




Photos courtesy of USA Hockey and Dan McCoy

 

Two weeks ago in Sochi, the USA Paralympic sled hockey team won gold after taking down Canada in the semifinals and Russia in the finals. University of Pittsburgh student and Fox Chapel native Dan McCoy was an integral part of the team, notching two assists against South Korea in group play.

Below, McCoy checks in and describes what it was like to fulfill a childhood dream.
 

"I’ve been home from Sochi for 10 days now, and I’m still waking up thinking, What just happened? It’s hard to wrap my mind around the last month. I’ve been dreaming for the last 12 years about the day I would play in the Paralympics and hoping to bring home gold.

The lead up to the gold medal game on Saturday was full of anticipation and excitement. The game was at 8 p.m. but the team was up at 7 a.m. for breakfast, practice, lunch and reflection.  My reflection involved flashbacks to when I was 8 years old and dreaming of this moment. All that I could think of were the many people who have walked with me on this journey. I can never give enough thanks to my parents, brother, family and friends for all their support. In addition, there are so many Pittsburghers who volunteered their time and talent to help out the Mighty Penguins and ultimately me. So many doctors, nurses, orthotists and medical staff have impacted my life and helped me get to this moment. Many of these individuals have no idea how important they were in helping me achieve my dream. As I dressed for the gold medal game, I reflected that I was not alone. I felt the love and support of everyone in Pittsburgh.

One of the proudest moments of my life to date was having that gold medal placed around my neck. I can't describe the overwhelming emotions of finally seeing my dream come true.

Then, when I finally got back to Pittsburgh 10 days ago, I was overwhelmed by the outpouring of support from the people in our amazing city. What a surprise to have family and friends waiting for me as I headed down to baggage claim!  Cameras from our three local stations were there, too. My street and yard [were] even decorated with Welcome Home and Congratulations signs.

Then on Saturday night, I was honored at the Penguins game. Getting the standing ovation at CONSOL ranks right up there as a great moment in my life. It was incredible to hear the “USA, USA” chant as people were cheering and seeing my face on the jumbotron. I met Dan Bylsma, Bill Guerin, Ray Shero and Tony Granato. Sidney Crosby interviewed with Dan Potash right before me, so I got a chance to talk with him as well. It was amazing to carry on a conversation with these guys. They were so genuine.

The pictures below are just a few of the highlights that tell the story. It has been a whirlwind.  My family and I appreciate everyone’s support and well wishes. Like the gold and the game, this is something I will treasure for the rest of my life."



 

#Bucs: Sanchez picks a Disney tune for his at-bats; Marte solidifies future plans

We’re really, really looking forward to warmer weather. We’re not sure if that’s in the cards before Monday, but that’s OK. March 31 is the official start of the Pirates’ next season. And it should be an exciting one for our 2013 Pittsburghers of the Year.

For starters, backup catcher Tony Sanchez announced that one of his at-bat tunes will be “Let It Go” from the Disney film “Frozen” — because “it would be dumb not to throw Idina Menzel into the mix.” Menzel remains icily quiet about Sanchez’s selection.



 

In addition to Menzel’s Academy Award-winning hit, Sanchez has chosen two other high-energy “treats” — Nelly’s “E.I.” and Mariah Carey’s “Fantasy.” We’re not sure we follow the sequence, but that’s OK. The man can do what he wants.

In other news, the Pirates also announced that leftfielder Starling Marte has signed a six-year contract extension. With Marte getting a .440 on-base percentage last season, we’re stoked about his return.

Also, question: Is killing a shark some sort of secret requirement to getting on a Pittsburgh sports team? Any thoughts, Tony?



 

—Gideon Bradshaw



 

#History: Go see Maz’s magic bat at the Heinz History Center



 

“... And Jack, you can employ a lot of script writers and pay a lot of money, but try and write a better finish to a ball game.”

That was the famous call of Bill Mazeroski’s climactic home run that defeated the New York Yankees in Game 7 of the 1960 World Series. Now you can get up close and personal with that special moment in history. Through May 1, Maz’s Game 7 bat and uniform both will be displayed at the Western Pennsylvania Sports Museum inside the Sen. John Heinz History Center.

Our favorite part of Maz’s historic home run is what he did after the game: He showered and went for a walk with his wife in Schenley Park.

Miami Heat, take note.



 

#Vote: Want to help Justin Severino receive one of Food & Wine’s honors? Speak up.



Photo by Laura Petrilla

 

In the late aughts, Pittsburgh wasn’t necessarily a charcuterie destination. Sure, cheese plates and cured meats existed. But there weren’t innumerable picks — bresaola, speck, terrine. Justin Severino’s return changed that — primarily at Elements Contemporary Cuisine and then at Cure, his personal venture.

The chef who’s adamant about only using humanely sourced meats at Cure — and making everything from scratch, the right way — has caught the attention of Food & Wine’s editors. They selected 100 top-tier U.S. chefs and are allowing the public to select favorite culinarians in each of the 10 regional categories.

Voting for People’s Best New Chef ends Monday — so act quickly, and spread the word.


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