Daniel Kanyaruhuru, a senior runner at Queens University of Charlotte, placed fifth at the NCAA Division II Cross Country Championships Nov. 17, good enough to earn recognition as an All-American. Given the athlete's past, his finish deserves at least as much.
Kanyaruhuru spent two years in a Congolese prison camp as a teenager, an experience that left him unable to walk for six months due to daily beatings. He was among only 32 survivors of more than 550 prisoners at the camp in his civil-war-ravaged homeland. His brother and his brother's family were not so fortunate.
Throughout that horror, Kanyaruhuru drew strength from a deep Christian faith that he says never wavered: "Everything happens for a reason, and when I came out, that happened for a reason, too."
Now 23, he told WORLD that the suffering of his past has made him a better runner and a better person. Favored to win the Division II title, he came down with flu-like symptoms over the latter half of the race and was tempted to drop out: "I thought there was no way I could make it to the finish, but when I thought about the things I'd been through, I realized this can't be any harder."
Kanyaruhuru first began running to help overcome the psychological pain that haunts him, because "running, to me, is my medicine."
When federal prosecutors indicted slugger Barry Bonds Nov. 15 for perjury and obstruction of justice, the bulk of baseball insiders shared one troubling question: What took you so long?
The charges allege that Bonds lied under oath to a grand jury four years ago when he repeatedly denied receiving or using anabolic steroids or human growth hormone. Prosecutors say a mountain of evidence refutes those statements, further begging the reasons for the delayed indictment.
Is it mere coincidence that the four-year gap between alleged perjury and litigation provided Bonds just enough time to break baseball's career home runs record? Is it simple happenstance that the charges arose only after the completion of Bonds' final season under contract, when the San Francisco Giants have already made their money and parted ways, and when baseball has already capitalized on the attraction of a home run chase and can now distance itself from a player no longer on a Major League roster? Maybe.
But the convenient timing of it all provides an irrepressible bloc of Bonds supporters with fodder for their favorite conspiracy theory-namely, that baseball executives and federal authorities have unfairly singled out Bonds as a scapegoat to protect America's pastime from the harm it deserves.
Of course, such coordinated malice against the home run king is unlikely. But given the perception that harsh justice for Bonds would prove Major League Baseball's commitment to crack down on steroid use, league leaders are no doubt eager to curry public favor with this headline-grabbing case-never mind MLB's longstanding laissez-faire policy that allowed the issue to mushroom in the first place.
In reality, baseball has far more work to do in reversing its steroid culture, which persists in many clubhouses, according to recent tell-all accounts. The league's stiff new penalties for juicing players are a good start. Fans can apply pressure to see that the Bonds indictment is not the end.