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T24-Adkins vs USA Pride Fastpitch GM4 on 11/16/19

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Sports Report: Thursday, Dec. 5

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Here’s a look at area sports scores from Thursday, Dec. 5. If you’d like to submit a score, please email: sports@waow.com.

BOYS HOCKEY

  • East-Merrill United 2 Antigo 2
  • SPASH 2 Marshfield 1
  • Lakeland 10 Tomahawk 1
  • Northland Pines 4 Rhinelander 0

GIRLS HOCKEY

  • Medford 3 Black River Falls 11

WRESTLING

  • Stratford 58 Nekoosa 12
  • Wisconsin Rapids 52 Wausau West 12
  • Merrill 48 Wausau East 18
  • SPASH 36 Marshfield 26

BOYS BASKETBALL

  • Lakeland 56 Wausau West 51
  • Independence 92 Granton 52
  • Gresham 55 Wisconsin Valley Lutheran 62
  • Wausau East 81 Green Bay East 66
  • Iola-Scandinavia 86 Menominee Indian 53
  • Wittenberg-Birnamwood 67 Bonduel 81
  • Stanley-Boyd 35 McDonell Central 49

GIRLS BASKETBALL

  • Owen-Withee 63 Colby 73
  • Neillsville 50 Gilman 51
  • Greenwood 41 Loyal 67
  • Wild Rose 47 Weyauwega-Fremont 32

BOYS SWIM

  • Lakeland 106 Shawano 61
  • Marshfield 121 Wisconsin Rapids 48
  • SPASH 95 D.C. Everest 74

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The Personal Toll of Photographing a Story About Euthanasia

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Times Insider explains who we are and what we do, and delivers behind-the-scenes insights into how our journalism comes together.

In April 2017, The New York Times sent me to Japan to meet and photograph the decorated Paralympic athlete Marieke Vervoort while she carried out the last wish on her bucket list: dying.

Marieke was fresh off the Paralympic circuit, having just won bronze and silver medals in wheelchair racing in Rio de Janeiro in 2016. She had previously won gold in the 2015 world championships, as well as gold and silver in the 2012 London Paralympics. She was a celebrity in Belgium and in athletic circles for her athletic accomplishments and her public announcement that she had completed the paperwork to end her life by euthanasia.

Belgium, where Marieke lived, was one of just a handful of countries where euthanasia was legal for non-terminally ill patients. Marieke’s degenerative muscular disease was not terminal, but as it worked its way up her body over two decades, it left behind a trail of paralysis.

I met and photographed Marieke in Japan, seven months after the Rio Games. She invited the Times sportswriter Andrew Keh and me to document her life, her suffering and her struggle with deciding when to die. She was savvy enough to understand that a poignant story and series of images could bring attention to her decade-long campaign for the global right to euthanasia. I ended up shuttling between my home in London and hers in Diest, Belgium, for two and a half years.

Marieke planned every detail of her death. She wanted to be surrounded by a handful of close friends and her parents in her bedroom in Diest when she was administered the lethal injection; she wanted to lie in a Coca-Cola red coffin surrounded by white roses; she carefully selected the speakers (including a comedian, whom she instructed to tell a dirty joke) and musicians for her private funeral. She would be cremated, and most of her ashes would be partitioned into little lockets for all her loved ones. A portion would be reserved and spread by her parents among the fields of lava by the dark blue sea in Los Hervideros, on the Spanish coast: her beloved second home, where she trained for the Paralympics.

She had no regrets. In fact, she had done more than most people do in 10 lifetimes.

But there never really seemed to be a right time to die. While Marieke first did the paperwork for euthanasia in 2008, she admitted she wasn’t ready to end her life then. She just wanted the option of knowing she had the power and the permission to do so when the pain became unbearable. In the years I photographed Marieke, her condition deteriorated, and she selected three dates for euthanasia. All came and went, for different reasons, and the story — and our friendship — continued.

I have spent my entire career photographing people whose lives were stolen from them by measles or malaria in the Democratic Republic of Congo or South Sudan, malnutrition in Somalia or Yemen, a car bomb in Iraq or an airstrike in Syria. I’ve photographed families torn apart by war and extreme poverty. Until Marieke, I had never met someone who had elected to die. I had never met someone so full of life — so emotionally determined that she could complete a triathlon in a wheelchair while deeply sick and heavily medicated — but who couldn’t muster that determination to plow though the daily pain and loneliness of a degenerative muscular disease, year after year.

I’ve never photographed someone so consistently over the span of two and a half years; inevitably, she became a friend. Most of the time I was with Marieke, I watched her sleep. I didn’t photograph much. I learned how to hold her when she choked, to pat her back and comfort her, hoping she regained consciousness. Sometimes I took a photograph right away, and then tried to help — because I was the only one in the room, and though I had been taught as a young photographer never to intervene, I am a human being.

I grew close to her parents, too — especially her mother, who spoke little English. We messaged often in Dutch, assisted by Google Translate. Even though I’m not sure my messages ever really said what I intended, they enabled us to have a close relationship. As a mother, I couldn’t fathom what she was going through as she ushered her daughter through moments of joy and darkness, only to know how and when it would all end. I admired the strength and support of Marieke’s parents, to be able to let her go.

On Oct. 22, Marieke was scheduled to die at home in Diest — this time, she hoped, for real.

A few weeks earlier, when Marieke and I discussed how she wanted me to photograph her death, she was more lucid than I had seen her in almost all the time I had known her. She vacillated between excited and strangely calm. The doubt was gone; she no longer booked dates into her schedule for months — or weeks — in the future. She asked me to be one of a handful of people in the room with her during her euthanasia.

Marieke’s parents, Jos and Odette, sat at the foot of the bed, and everyone reluctantly took their places around her, forming a human cocoon. Her doctors alternated trips to her bedside, emptying fat syringes full of the barbiturate Thiobarbital into an IV line into her neck. Her parents sat before her. Every few minutes, her father looked away. Her longtime psychologist held her wrist.

By the end of her life, I knew most of Marieke’s friends, and her dogs no longer barked when I arrived at her home to find her half-conscious on the couch. When I was back in London, or in Los Angeles over Christmas, she sent me long voice messages on WhatsAppduring which she sometimes fell asleep, woke up again and picked up where she left off. She called me sweetheart and told me she loved me. I eventually reciprocated.

I don’t know whether I crossed the lines of journalism by becoming close to my subject or who decides when it is O.K. for a “subject” to become a friend. I don’t think my ability to tell Marieke’s story has been compromised by our closeness, and I wouldn’t know any other way to tell the story of someone’s death by choice. I needed to get to know Marieke and her family to understand how painful and difficult life could be, to decide to end it.

The people in her bedroom that evening began to whimper and eventually sob, as the color drained from Marieke’s face and her lips turned blue. She looked as she had so often throughout my time with her — medicated, sleeping, mouth slightly agape — but this time, for the first time, she looked at peace, without pain.


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The Mets’ Would-Be Rescuer Is Far From a Hero

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New York City being New York City, and the Mets being the Mets, it was inevitable that a master of the universe would finally push the penurious Wilpon family into the mists of history.

That this master of the universe is Steven A. Cohen, a financier who is not unduly burdened by ethics and who sidestepped criminal indictment, is more or less perfect for this city, this team and this age.

Cohen commands a great pile of stones in Greenwich, Conn. — a palazzo with more bedrooms and more bathrooms than you could count in this and another lifetime — donates vast sums to the art world and to children’s health, and is worth many billions of dollars.

Under the terms of his proposed deal for controlling interest in the Mets, he would take the helm of the team even while the Wilpons retain putative control for five years. As Cohen is a raptor’s raptor, I would bet a large sum of money I don’t have that the Wilpons will quickly become potted plants.

Mets fans, and I speak as a lifelong member of this sect, are likely to react to this news with glee. This week they watched Zack Wheeler, one of the better No. 3 starters in baseball, walk away to the Mets’ chief competition, the Philadelphia Phillies, without his longtime team bothering to put in a bid for his services.

A new owner who will burn bonfires of his cash in pursuit of a championship is like water falling on the desert of Mets fandom.

Some might see this as myopia by fans, and maybe that’s right, even though it reflects a sporting commonplace. The population of team-owning oligarchs contains its fair share of those with mysterious and unsightly fortunes. It’s worth recalling that the other baseball team in town was long run by a (later pardoned) felon who obstructed justice.

He did, however, put out a fine baseball team. ¿Que será, será?

Before relativistic spin leaves me dizzy, it’s worth tarrying a few minutes on the fellow who is likely to soon take control of my Mets. The process by which Cohen could ascend his throne is multifold: Major League Baseball will figuratively pat him down, and he must pass through several committees and obtain a two-thirds vote of the team owners. Nothing is certain, although my guess is that far more attention will be paid to the billions in his wallet than to the considerable taint of his business transgressions.

Cohen ran SAC Capital Advisors, which year after year produced wondrous returns. CNBC analysts felt something akin to awe and all but prostrated themselves. (It’s perhaps worth reminding ourselves that the Wilpons were cast upon a reef for not dissimilar reasons, after they placed touching faith in the fantastical returns produced by their friend Bernie Madoff.)

A shrewd fellow, Cohen constructed a carefully decentralized operation with about 140 small teams. He waved his figurative garden hose and sprayed these teams with hundreds of millions of investment dollars. His rule was simple: Make money, or get lost.

As these teams enjoyed autonomy, Cohen retained two lovely words: plausible deniability.

Alas, federal regulators came knocking about seven years ago and began to indict some of his top employees. A Securities and Exchange Commission filing reported that Cohen — surprise! — was more attentive than he had let on. “Faced with red flags of potentially unlawful conduct by employees under his supervision, Cohen allowed his traders to execute the recommended trades and stood by,” the filing stated.

Not that this fazed Cohen’s investors, who continued to pour money into the many-gallon jug that was SAC.

For a while, it appeared that Cohen might face the possibility of spending a few years living rent-free in a federal facility. Preet Bharara, the United States attorney in Manhattan, oversaw the investigation, and while he declined at that time to answer specific questions about Cohen, he characteristically thumped his chest.

“I don’t see anyone that’s too big to indict,” the prosecutor said then. “No one is too big indict.”

As often happened with federal prosecutors, Bharara talked a better game than he prosecuted. Eight employees of SAC fell, but Cohen stepped away virtually untouched. He was, in essence, given a child’s timeout, a mandatory two-year hiatus from managing money.

Jesse Eisinger of ProPublica has written much of Cohen, including for The New York Times, and he later wrote a book exploring the Justice Department’s failures to prosecute executives. I called him and asked about this oligarch’s decision to inhale the Mets.

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