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Game 18 Anthem: St. John's

The Rob Thomas we're dedicating today's anthem to is much, much awesomer than this Rob Thomas.
The Rob Thomas we're dedicating today's anthem to is much, much awesomer than this Rob Thomas.

Before we talk about queefcore music, I'd like to talk about Rob Thomas.

No, not the lead singer of Matchbox 20, pictured at right. The Rob Thomas who plays basketball for St. John's.

Or rather, played. The three-year letterman is now a student assistant coach for the Red Storm.

Thomas' story starts with a home life so awful that sleeping on park benches in the Bronx was preferable. Throw in the pressures of drugs, violence, and poverty. Add a case of undiagnosed dyslexia that rendered him functionally illiterate until adulthood. As a freshman at St. John's, he suffered a catastrophic knee injury, tearing his ACL, LCL, and meniscus ("worst in 29 years", said the trainer). He also had to drop 70 pounds at one point. And if that wasn't enough misfortune for one lifetime, he was also a verbal commitment to Robert McCullum and USF. (Okay, that last one was a cheap shot.)

More about Rob Thomas' inspiring life story, and more cheap shots at former Tampa Bay sports figures, after the jump:

While Thomas' playing career is over due to injuries, he will soon graduate from St. John's University with a degree in Human Services. He wants to buy a building in his old neighborhood and turn it into a school for the dyslexic, in hopes that his experience can help underprivileged children overcome learning disabilities. In other news, Elijah Dukes wants to be a rapper.

I tell this story because it's a much-needed reminder of the good side of college athletics. This week has seen a nasty expose on crime among college football players, and BYU dropping a bridge on one of its basketball players. Isn't it nice to know that there are still Rob Thomas stories out there? Kids who wouldn't have gotten a chance at college succeeding academically.

So in honor of Rob Thomas, and the thousands of other student-athletes all over the country whose years of unacclaimed work will soon yield a diploma and a new chapter of their lives, we dedicate today's anthem -- and you know it's a Matchbox Twenty song -- "How Far We've Come." It's a song about not just where you've been, but where you're going, and where you are right now, and with a little urgency to it. It's all coming to an end, I guess we're gonna find out, let's see how far we've come.

And you can read a full magazine story about Rob Thomas here.