Mianne Bagger becomes first transgender athlete to play in pro golf tournament

On March 4, 2004, Mianne Bagger, a golfer from Denmark, makes history at the Women’s Australian Open as the first transgender athlete to compete in a professional golf tournament. Bagger shoots an underwhelming 84 (12 over par) in her first round, but that is a footnote to the historic performance.

Bagger told reporters it took her a while to overcome the nervousness associated with the feat: “I don’t know where my swing was. … I was pretty numb the first seven holes. I couldn’t really feel much below my shoulders.”

Bagger, who was assigned male at birth in 1966, began playing golf as an 8-year-old. She was photographed with star golfer Greg Norman in Golf World magazine as a 14-year-old. However, she struggled with her sexual identity as a teen, stopped playing golf and felt “thoroughly depressed…suicidal.” She had gender affirming surgery in 1995 and resumed playing golf again at age 32 in 1998.

Some questioned whether the 5-foot-10, 150-pound Bagger would have a physical advantage over the field. Bagger told Jay Schadler of ABC-TV’s Primetime she would not, and her competitors welcomed her participation at the Australian Open. 

In 2004, Bagger qualified for the Ladies European Tour and had a couple decent showings in her career. In addition to leaving a legacy as the first transgender professional golfer, her advocacy caused a number of golf associations, such as the LPGA, to amend their bylaws to remove “female at birth” requirements.  

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College basketball star Hank Gathers collapses on court, dies

On March 4, 1990, Loyola Marymount University star senior forward Hank Gathers sprints down the court during a West Coast Conference tournament game, leaps and catches an alley-oop pass, slams down an emphatic dunk, and, after jogging back to midcourt, collapses to the floor. Although he briefly regains consciousness, he is rushed to a hospital, where he dies. “This is the hardest thing I’ve ever experienced,” Loyola Marymount coach Paul Westhead tells the media. 

Gathers, a 6-foot-7, 23-year-old who led the nation in scoring and rebounding as a junior, had collapsed on the court during a game earlier in his senior season. He quickly recovered, and doctors were unable to fully ascertain what was wrong with him. (An autopsy would later reveal he suffered from a heart disorder known as hypertrophic cardiomyopathy.)

Despite being prescribed heart medication, Gathers was cleared to play again and, after a few sluggish performances, appeared to be back to his old self after a 48-point, 13-rebound game against an LSU team that featured Shaquille O’Neal.

Loyola Marymount’s opponent in the West Coast Conference tournament game was the University of Portland—a team that featured a guard named Erik Spoelstra. He would become a become a championship-winning head coach of the Miami Heat.

After Gathers’ collapse, the game and tournament were cancelled and Loyola Marymount was awarded the conference’s automatic bid to the NCAA tournament. Led by Bo Kimble, Loyola Marymount advanced to the Elite Eight despite being seeded 11th. Kimble made his first free throw in the tournament left-handed, a tribute to Gathers, who had begun to shoot free throws left-handed to fix one of the few shortcomings in his game. 

Gathers’ name is often brought up as a cautionary tale for any athlete diagnosed with a heart condition. “[Gathers] was an outstanding young man as an athlete and as a human being,” Loyola Marymount athletic director Brian Quinn told the Los Angeles Times. “We’re all better people for having the opportunity to know him and be his friend.”

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Broward County Public Schools is Awarded Federal Project Safe Grant for State Sanctions Related to COVID-19

September 28, 2021

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) has been awarded $420,957 in federal funding from the U.S. Department of Education (USDOE) Project Safe grant. The USDOE notified Broward County School Board Chair Dr. Rosalind Osgood and Interim Superintendent Dr. Vickie L. Cartwright on Tuesday, September 28, that the District’s grant application has been approved.

The Project Safe grant reimburses school districts that are financially penalized by state governments for implementing strategies to prevent the spread of COVID-19 in schools, such as requiring masks. The Broward County School Board voted to uphold its current Facial Covering Policy on July 28, 2021, due to the rise in COVID-19 conditions across the community at that time. 

In August 2021, the Florida Department of Education began withholding $35,080 each month from the District’s funding allocation. This amount represents 1/12 of all nine Broward County School Board members’ annual salaries. To date, $70,160 has been withheld by the state, with the most recent funding withheld on Friday, September 24.

“We are grateful for the support of the federal government in helping us continue to protect our students and staff from COVID-19,” said Interim Superintendent Dr. Cartwright. “I support our School Board for their focus on doing what is in the best interest of our families to ensure our schools continue to provide safe and healthy learning environments.

“We should be thanking districts for using proven strategies that will keep schools open and safe, not punishing them. We stand with the dedicated educators in Broward County and across the country doing the right thing to protect their school communities, and with today’s award under Project SAFE, we are further enabling educators to continue that critical work,” said U.S. Secretary of Education Miguel Cardona. “With these grants, we’re making sure schools and communities across the country that are committed to safely returning to in-person learning know that we have their backs. I commend Broward County for protecting its students and educators, and I look forward to working with them to provide students their best year yet. Every student across the country deserves the opportunity to return to school in-person safely this fall, and every family should be confident that their school is implementing policies that keep their children safe.”

To date, BCPS is one of two Florida school districts to receive the Project Safe grant. 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS 

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”  

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has nearly 261,500 students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 93 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools.com and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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41 BCPS Students Named Semifinalists in the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program

September 24, 2021 

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is excited to announce the names of 41 Semifinalists to be considered for a National Merit Scholarship award in the 67th annual National Merit Scholarship Program. These academically talented high school seniors have the opportunity to continue in the competition for some 7,500 National Merit Scholarships worth nearly $30 million that will be offered next spring.  

To be considered for a National Merit Scholarship award, Semifinalists must fulfill several requirements to advance to the Finalist level of the competition. About 95% of the Semifinalists are expected to attain Finalists standing, and approximately half of the Finalists will win a National Merit Scholarship, earning a Merit Scholar title.

High school juniors entered the 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program by taking the 2020 Preliminary SAT/National Merit Scholarship Qualifying Test, which served as an initial screen of program entrants. The nationwide pool of Semifinalists, representing less than 1% of U.S. high school seniors includes the highest-scoring entrants in each state.

Three types of National Merit Scholarships will be offered in the spring and summer of 2022. Every Finalist will compete for one of 2,500 National Merit $2,500 Scholarships that will be awarded on a state representational basis. About 1,000 corporate-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards will be provided by approximately 220 corporations and business organizations for Finalists who meet their specific criteria. In addition, about 180 competitive public and private colleges and universities will finance 4,000 college-sponsored Merit Scholarship awards for Finalists who will attend the sponsor institution.

National Merit Scholarship winners for 2022 will be announced in four nationwide news releases beginning in April and concluding in July. These scholarship recipients will join more than 362,000 other distinguished young people who have earned the Merit Scholar title. 

Congratulations to all the BCPS students named 2022 National Merit Scholarship Program Semifinalists:

College Academy at Broward College 

Drew G. Meltzer 

Cooper City High School  

Dylan J. Bober 

Eric B. Galluzzi 

 

Cypress Bay High School  

Francisco Alvarez Clemente 

Grace H. Baek 

Sean G. Behling 

Amanda K. Budejen 

Amanda L. Campos 

Diego A. Carbonell 

Andrei T. Chekmasov 

Ian Gonzalez Hermosillo  

Priya Khatri 

Gabriel Romanini DeBarros 

Vishal Suresh 

Isaac Tang 

Albert R. Wang 

Jonah B. Wilentz 

Julia B. Winton  

 

Everglades High School  

Ryan Demolina 

Scott L. Kuang 

Olivia Tang 

 

Charles W. Flanagan High School  

Jaleyna S. Lawes 

Angelina M. Rodriguez 

 

Fort Lauderdale High School  

Benjamin F. Schnirman 

Dina F. Stein

Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School  

Raegan M. Direnzo 

Lexi B. Schwartzberg 

Zachary P. Weissman 

Mirza R. Zuhayr 

 

Millennium Collegiate Academy 

Isabella C. Yeung 

 

Miramar High School  

Abhishek Suresh 

 

Piper High School  

Kelsey J. Bacon 

 

Plantation High School  

Bradley J. Coleman 

Hunter S. Rosiere 

 

Pompano Beach High School  

Parth Agarwal 

Megan B. Lecomte 

  

Sheridan Technical High School  

Gavin Fleury 

  

West Broward High School  

Zachary I. Morris 

 

Western High School  

Max B. Leach 

Vraj Patel 

Arman H. Samsam 

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS   

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”     

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth-largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. The District is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962 and has nearly 261,000 pre-K-12th grade students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers, and technical colleges, and 92 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow on Twitter @browardschools and Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools, and download the free BCPS mobile app.  

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Sandy Koufax becomes youngest player elected to Baseball Hall of Fame

On January 19,  1972, 36-year-old Sandy Koufax, the former Los Angeles Dodgers star, becomes the youngest player elected to the Baseball Hall of Fame. “This is the only thing that’s made having to retire early a little easier,” says Koufax, who retired at age 30. “This is the biggest honor I’ve ever been given, not just in baseball, but in my life.”

Koufax made his Major League Baseball debut in 1955, but was inconsistent early in his career. Before 1961, his biggest claim to fame was leading the majors in wild pitches in 1958. In 1961, however, Koufax led the National League with 269 strikeouts and made the  all-star team. 

He was the most dominant pitcher in Major League Baseball over the next several seasons, winning three Cy Young Awards and the 1963 Most Valuable Player Award. He also led the league in ERA for five straight seasons, helping the Dodgers to three NL pennants as well as World Series titles in 1963 and 1965.

The left-handed Koufax was known for his fastball and a curveball that often broke a foot or more, as well as for his commitment, as a Jew, to not pitching on the Sabbath.

After a 1964 baserunning injury, Koufax was diagnosed with traumatic arthritis in his throwing arm, but he continued pitching through constant pain. On September 9, 1965, he threw a perfect game, the first by a lefthander since 1880 and a then-record fourth career no-hitter.

Koufax declined to pitch Game 1 of the 1965 World Series because it coincided with Yom Kippur, a Jewish holiday. But he went on to make three appearances in the Series: a loss in Game 2, a complete-game shutout in Game 5, and a second shutout, on just two days’ rest, to win Game 7 and earn his second World Series MVP.

Despite his doctor’s warning that his arm could not handle another season, Koufax threw 323 innings in 1966, more than any pitcher in the majors, and led the league in wins (27), strikeouts (317) and ERA (1.73). Also, he pitched a complete game on two days’ rest to win the NL pennant, but the Dodgers went on to lose the World Series to the Baltimore Orioles in four games. Koufax retired a few weeks later.

Koufax, in his first year of eligibility, entered the Hall alongside pitcher Early Wynn and New York Yankees catcher Yogi Berra, who had famously said of Koufax’s 1963 season: “I can see how he won 25 games. What I don’t understand is how he lost five.”

READ MORE: Who Invented Baseball?

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Miami Dolphins win Super Bowl VII to cap NFL’s only perfect season

On January 14, 1973, the Miami Dolphins achieve something no NFL team has  repeated: a perfect season. Despite a gaffe by kicker Garo Yepremian that has earned its own place in history, the Dolphins hold on to beat Washington, 14-7, in Super Bowl VII, capping a 17-0 season. 

READ MORE: The NFL’s Longest Game: How a Soccer Player-Turned-Kicker Secured the Win

The Dolphins, 10-3-1 the previous season, were the defending AFC champions. Despite being blown out by the Dallas Cowboys in Super Bowl VI, they were early favorites to win the relatively weak AFC East. Miami survived close calls with the Minnesota Vikings and Buffalo Bills early in the season and lost their starting quarterback, Bob Griese, to injury in Week 5. 

With veteran backup Earl Morrall leading the offense, the Dolphins forged ahead, piling up wins and then turning heads with their 52-0 victory over the New England Patriots—head coach Don Shula’s 100th NFL win. 

The team benefitted from depth at running back, as Larry Csonka and Eugene “Mercury” Morris became the first teammates to rush for 1,000 yards each in a  season. Shula pulled Morrall in favor of Griese midway through the AFC Championship Game against the Pittsburgh Steelers, won 21-17 by the Dolphins in Pittsburgh.

Two weeks later, Super Bowl VII took place before 90,182 fans at Los Angeles Memorial Coliseum. Neither team’s quarterback played well—Griese passed for only  88 yards, and Washington’s Billy Kilmer set a Super Bowl record by throwing three interceptions.

Shula and his kicker nearly combined to ruin the perfect season with a decision the Miami head coach later admitted was based on his desire to cap a 17-0 season with a 17-0 win. 

With just over two minutes left, instead of going for it on fourth-and-4 in Washington territory, Shula had Yepremian attempt a 42-yard field goal. The kick was blocked, and Yepremian’s attempt to salvage the play resulted in a fumble, which cornerback Mike Bass returned 49 yards for a touchdown. 

“I shoulda just fallen on the ball,” Yepremian told reporters. “I shoulda ate it, but I made a mistake.”

Dolphins safety Jake Scott, who had two interceptions, was named MVP of the game. 

The Dolphins were the first team to reach the Super Bowl with a perfect record. The second team to do so, the 2007 Patriots, rode an 18-game winning streak into Super Bowl XLII but lost that game, 17-14, to the New York Giants.

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Two BCPS Elementary Schools Receive Top Honors from Imagine Learning

September 23, 2021

Two BCPS Elementary Schools Receive Top Honors from Imagine LearningImagine Learning, a pre-K – 8th grade digital curriculum and assessment language development platform, is recognizing two Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) elementary schools with its highest distinction: The 2020/21 Imagine Nation Beacon School Award. The national award is presented to Meadowbrook Elementary School (pictured right) for its outstanding implementation of the Imagine Learning Language & Literacy program and to Westchester Elementary School for its implementation of the Imagine Learning math curriculum.

The schools were nominated by their Imagine Learning teams for their above-and-beyond enthusiasm and innovative use of Imagine Learning tools with their staff and student body.  The key factors that made these schools stand-outs in the program include high levels of student engagement, use of the program with fidelity throughout the school year, high levels of teacher and administration engagement, effective implementation and innovation, encouragement or rewards for good partner relationships, and students showing academic growth.

View the award presentation at Meadowbrook Elementary through the following link: https://www.eduvision.tv/l?eAmeDtg

 

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ABOUT BROWARD COUNTY PUBLIC SCHOOLS 

“Committed to educating all students to reach their highest potential.”  

Broward County Public Schools (BCPS) is the sixth largest school district in the nation and the second largest in the state of Florida. BCPS is Florida’s first fully accredited school system since 1962. BCPS has nearly 261,500 students and approximately 110,000 adult students in 241 schools, centers and technical colleges, and 93 charter schools. BCPS serves a diverse student population, with students representing 170 different countries and 147 different languages. To connect with BCPS, visit browardschools.com, follow us on Twitter @browardschools, on Facebook at facebook.com/browardschools.com and download the free BCPS mobile app.

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Los Angeles Lakers’ record winning streak ends

On January, 9, 1972, the longest winning streak in major professional sports is snapped at 33 games when the Milwaukee Bucks beat the Los Angeles Lakers, 120-104. A 39-point performance by the Bucks’ Kareem Abdul-Jabbar hands the Lakers their first loss since October 31.

Afterward, Lakers coach Bill Sharman kept the locker room closed for 15 minutes. He had a speech written for when the team’s streak ended, but he kept the dog-eared paper in his coat pocket, according to the Los Angeles Times.

“Oh, I had a couple of corny things written,” he said. “but I didn’t read them today.” Sharman credited the Bucks’ aggressive defense for being the difference. “We had to work for every shot we took,” he said.

The Lakers included center Wilt Chamberlain, a future Hall of Famer, who had set a season record for points 10 years earlier. But the aging Chamberlain was only fourth on the team in points per game. Gail Goodrich and Jerry West, both of whom would  join Chamberlain in the Hall of Fame, led the team in scoring at nearly 26 points per game apiece.

Abdul-Jabbar, the Bucks’ star and a future Hall of Famer, was traded to the Lakers in 1975.

Beginning with a 110-106 victory over the Baltimore Bullets in the first game of November, the Lakers tore through the league for the next two months. Their closest brush with defeat came on December 10, when the Phoenix Suns took them to overtime.

Two nights later, the Lakers broke the NBA record for most consecutive wins by defeating the Bucks, who had set the record at 20 the previous season. The Lakers scored at least 100 points in every game during the streak, and only failed to do so once all season.

“When we put it all together, we’ve got to be perhaps the greatest club ever,” Sharman said during the streak.

After losing to the Bucks on January 9, the Lakers hit a rough patch but finished the regular season with a 69-13 record. In the first round of the playoffs, they swept the Chicago Bulls in four games, then defeated the Bucks in the second round in six games. In the NBA Finals, the Lakers beat the New York Knicks in five games to earn their first title since the team moved to Los Angeles in 1960

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The Howard Dean scream

At an energetic rally on the evening of January 19, 2004, Democratic presidential hopeful Howard Dean emits a noise that many will claim ended his career in electoral politics. The “Dean Scream,” as it quickly came to be known, was a unique and revealing moment in early-21st century American politics.

A former three-term governor of Vermont, Dean was seen as the candidate of the Left and was the only Democrat who openly criticized the Iraq War in his campaign for the party’s nomination. He was considered a frontrunner despite conservatives’ attempts to depict his campaign as a “left-wing freak show,” but finished third in the Iowa Caucuses. Despite losing the first contest of the primary to John Edwards and eventual winner John Kerry, Dean took the stage the night that night with enthusiasm. He ended his remarks by fervently cataloguing the contests yet to come, concluding with a shout of “…and then we’re going to Washington, D.C., to take back the White House! Yeah!” His voice cracked on the final “Yeah!,” turning the word into a bizarre yelp that was broadcast and, before long, replayed hundreds of times on news programs all over the country.

Ironically, nobody in the room with Dean noticed anything out of the ordinary—they witnessed what seemed like nothing more than an impassioned speech, with Dean’s famous scream drowned out by the cheers that filled the room. Dean’s audio setup, however, isolated his voice for the television audience, making the “Dean Scream” stand out jarringly and comically. The clip became a sensation on cable news, discussed and replayed countless times over the week between the Iowa Caucus and the New Hampshire primary, a perfect gift for Dean’s detractors.

Although the extent to which the incident affected Dean’s performance in the primary is impossible to fully determine—he had already underperformed in Iowa at the time of the speech, and would underperform again in New Hampshire a few days later—Dean’s campaign never regained its early momentum and is now remembered primarily for the “I Have a Scream Speech.” Kerry won the primary and lost the general, giving President George W. Bush a second term.

READ MORE: Presidential Election Facts

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First all-Black professional basketball team organized

On February 13, 1923, the New York Renaissance, the first all-Black professional basketball team, is organized. The Renaissance, commonly called the Rens, become one of the dominant teams of the 1920s and 1930s.

The team’s founder was Robert L. Douglas, whose primary objective was to give New York City’s male, Black athletes opportunities to better themselves. In February 1923, Douglas struck an agreement with William Roach, a Harlem-based real estate developer who owned the New Renaissance Ballroom and Casino, and the Rens were born.

With Black players barred from professional basketball leagues, the Rens barnstormed throughout the country, often competing against all-white teams. 

Along with owning the team, Douglas coached it from its inception through its last game in 1949. Douglas was inducted into the Naismith Memorial Basketball Hall of Fame as a contributor in 1972. One of the greatest players in the sport’s history recognized his impact.

“I tried to spread the word [about Douglas] with my book and documentary, On the Shoulder of Giants,” Kareem Abdul-Jabbar told The Undefeated in 2017. “I did both to make people aware of the Rens’ contribution to basketball because it’s important that we honor those pioneers who made this billion-dollar industry possible.”

The team played its first game November 3, 1923, winning 28-22 against the Collegiate Five—an all-white team.

“The Rens immediate success and notoriety helped shift the presence of African-American sports from the amateur level to the professional level,” wrote NYHoops.org. “They were able to compete with and even defeat the original Boston Celtics, who were one of the dominant professional white teams during that era.”

In the 1932-33 season, the Rens, led by future Hall of Famers William “Pop” Gates and Charles “Tarzan” Cooper, won 88 consecutive games.

In 1939—seven years before the launch of the NBA—the Rens won the World Professional Basketball tournament. In 1949, the Rens, then based in Dayton, Ohio, played their last game as part of the racially integrated National Basketball League. By that time, the NBA was up and running, and interest in barnstorming basketball had waned.

In 1963, the Rens team was inducted into the Basketball Hall of Fame. 

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