Weekend Column: We may all be biased, but can you blame us?


By Leon Hargrove Jr. - Sports Editor



ROCKINGHAM — Tom Brady, thank you for letting it go.

THE SHOT

I’m a UNC fan and I think Villanova’s Kris Jenkins should’ve won “Best Play” at the ESPYs Wednesday night.

Don’t get me wrong, Aaron Rodgers’ hail mary to Richard Rodgers was amazing, but a 3-pointer at the buzzer to win the national championship should — without question — be seen as the best play in sports this past year.

Now, if the Rodgers-Rodgers connection would have taken place in the Super Bowl with the Packers down six and there was no time left on the clock, then I couldn’t argue with that.

But it wasn’t.

Jenkins, on the other hand, walked into the purest 3-pointer I’ve ever seen (which I’m still not quite over yet) to hold off Carolina on the biggest stage at the collegiate level.

That seems like a pretty obvious choice, right?

THE BIAS

After watching Ashton Locklear compete in three events in the last two months, I think it’s safe to say that I am an uneven bar expert. And according to my expertise, I believe her score in the final round of the trials didn’t really do her routine any justice.

Of course, like a lot of people in the community, I’m biased and think Ashton’s bar routine is always perfect, but receiving a score of 15.700 for a performance like that didn’t seem right. Madison Kocian had a great routine and deserved a score of 15.900 —the highest score of her career on the uneven bars. However, I feel like Ashton’s was just as great.

I have learned that there is a such thing as a difficulty score in gymnastics, and that also plays a part in how judges score the routines, but to be honest with you guys, I’m still unsure what all of that means.

I’m still an expert, though.

Because of all of the injuries that Ashton has experienced, she’s only able to participate in two of the four events that athletes compete in during the Olympics. Which, in turn, kind of gives Kocian the upper hand because she can compete in all of the events in case her score is needed to boost the overall team’s score.

I understand it, but that doesn’t mean I like it. Ashton is the best on uneven bars in the country. They could’ve broke the rules a little bit and made an extra spot on the roster.

However, her being able to go as an alternate is still an accomplishment in itself. They obviously recognize her talent and she gets the opportunity to make a trip to Rio.

Obviously, I’m not from Richmond County. But I’ve witnessed how the community responds to seeing one of their own achieve such feats and continue to fight through whatever obstacle may be in her way. And I hope that one day everyone will be able to recognize and appreciate the hard work that has been put in by Ashton — and every Olympic athlete for that matter.

It’s really something special.

How could you not support it?

Reach sports editor Leon Hargrove Jr. at 910-817-2673 and follow him on Twitter @_UncleLeon.

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By Leon Hargrove Jr.

Sports Editor

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