Fly-half Finn Russell has recovered from an ankle injury to be named in Scotland’s team to face Samoa on Saturday.A win will secure Vern Cotter’s side a place in the quarter-finals. Liam Williams returns from concussion on the wing.George North switches to outside centre to partner Jamie Roberts in midfield.The winner of the match will avoid South Africa in the quarter-finals.
The longtime Laker will hear his name announced on the loudspeaker. He will soak in the gratitude the Lakers will express about his endless contributions toward a franchise obsessed with NBA championships. This will all take place when the Lakers (16-59) host the Boston Celtics (44-32) on Sunday at Staples Center, a fitting moment since he played a large part in adding purple and gold spice into the NBA’s most heated rivalry. Kobe Bryant will hear all those platitudes as part of his season-long farewell tour, of course. So will the man who has healed nearly every part of Bryant’s body. “It means the world that people appreciate the tenure,” said longtime Lakers athletic trainer Gary Vitti, who also will leave his current job once the 2015-16 season ends in just over a week. “I don’t shy away from attention. But to be at the center of it is difficult.” Bryant usually takes care of that part. Yet for all the talk about Bryant’s longevity, Vitti actually represents a deeper reach into the Lakers’ glorious past. Vitti has corrected the bodies of Magic Johnson, Kareem Abdul-Jabbar, James Worthy, Shaquille O’Neal and Bryant so they could remain Hall of Fame players. He also worked for two Hall of Fame coaches in Pat Riley and Phil Jackson, easing their anxiety both with delivering them healthy rosters and overseeing the team’s travel. Yet, Vitti maintains he had “zero” influence in the Lakers winning eight NBA championships in 12 Finals appearances since taking over the trainer’s room 32 years ago. The Lakers respectfully disagree about the organization’s longest tenured athletic trainer in franchise history. “He’s competitive and is cut out of the same cloth as we were. The only difference is he didn’t have a uniform on,” said Lakers coach Byron Scott, who also knew Vitti through the Showtime Era. “He hated losing and loved coming to work. He was great with us as far as being honest when we played well and didn’t.”Scott has tried to persuade Vitti to stay and even offer part of his paycheck. Too bad Vitti has often joked “he hasn’t been paid high enough.” Instead, Vitti will become a special consultant for the Lakers for two more years, which means he will have both a lighter workload and no longer travel. Vitti also will release a book titled, “32 Years of Titles and Tears from the Best Seat in the House.” Newsroom GuidelinesNews TipsContact UsReport an Error With that, Vitti gained enough perspective to offer a spirited defense amid the mounting criticism Scott has received for the Lakers remaining on pace to have their worst record in franchise history for the second consecutive year.“When I hear this stuff about ‘old school’ and ‘tough love,’ I don’t believe that at all,” Vitti said. “All I believe he’s doing is setting the standard of excellence, professionalism and discipline.”Vitti has also seen enough to become a curator for the Lakers’ franchise, leaving him with plenty of stories that could make up his own tribute video.The interviewVitti learned in the summer of 1984 that an accomplished NBA executive (Jerry West) and an accomplished NBA coach (Riley) wanted to hire him. The Lakers had just lost to Boston yet again in the NBA Finals, and Riley believed Vitti’s expertise in sports medicine could help stop the Celtics’ curse. “I’d be lying to say I wasn’t interested,” Vitti said. “But I would also be lying if I told you that I would’ve been devastated if I didn’t get the job.”Vitti felt content being both the head athletic trainer and an adjunct professor at the University of Portland. He already received his NBA fix by spending two years as an assistant trainer with the Utah Jazz. Vitti also wanted to become a doctor and remained a year away from receiving his PhD.Riley’s sales pitch convinced Vitti otherwise. “‘You can do everything you want to do, research wise,’” Vitti recalled Riley saying. “‘But you do it with the best athletes in the world.’”Vitti found that to be a “catchy line.” Vitti then laughed when he recalled Riley adding, “‘I like your attitude and progressiveness in the fact that you’re not scarred yet.’ Now I got lots of them.” The warningBefore the Lakers hired Vitti, however, West and Riley had a pressing concern that had nothing to do with training. Both wondered if Vitti could handle criticism well.“‘What are you talking about?’” Vitti recalled asking. “They said, ‘Well, we have an announcer and a lot of times the trainer in the past has been his whipping boy.’”That announcer was the late Chick Hearn, who never bit his tongue through both the good and the bad. So Vitti approached Hearn shortly after training camp started at the College of the Desert in Palm Springs.“‘I’ve heard all about you. Give me what you got,’” Vitti recalled telling Hearn. “He burst out laughing. From that moment on, we were like father and son.”ShowtimeDuring that same training camp, Vitti saw the first sign the Lakers would revolutionize the NBA. He witnessed Johnson, Abdul-Jabbar, Worthy, Scott, Michael Cooper and Jamaal Wilkes run a series of fast-break drills with one caveat. “The ball never touched the floor,” Vitti said. “The two things that popped into my head were greyhounds and thoroughbreds.”The turning pointThe result contradicted everything the Lakers preached. They approached every practice and regular-season game as preparation for the Celtics in the NBA Finals. Yet the Lakers lost the so-called “Memorial Day Massacre,” a 148-114 spanking in Game 1 of the 1985 NBA Finals that Vitti called “the turning point of this franchise.”Vitti witnessed “the greatest show of a champion I’ve ever seen” with Abdul-Jabbar experiencing both an undressing during a film session and refusing to rest during subsequent practices. The Lakers then won four of the next five games to win the NBA title. That development apparently had bigger implications than beating the Celtics for the first time in NBA Finals history. “If we would have lost that series, they would have broken that team up,” Vitti said. “They would have tried to find another way because what they were doing wasn’t working.”The RingOf all the eight Lakers championship rings he could wear, Vitti has only worn one. He has sported the Lakers’ 1987 championship ring because that coincided with the birth of his first daughter, Rachel. Vitti considers the Lakers’ 1984-85 season “his greatest basketball year” for the first win against the Celtics. And yet…“That might have been the greatest team in the history of basketball,” Vitti said of the Lakers’ 1987 title team. “Those things are difficult to argue. But I’m saying you could make an argument.”Gaining respectThe root of Vitti’s sleepless nights went beyond handling a loss or treating an injured player. “I did not want to disappoint Pat.” Vitti said.So Vitti often woke up at odd hours, jotting down ideas in hopes to keep pace with Riley’s constant restlessness and innovation. “If I got six hours of sleep, Pat only got five,” Vitti said. “As hard as he pushed everybody else, he pushed himself even harder.”Farewell tour, part 1The gifts became more extravagant with each passing day. So shortly after the Lakers presented Abdul-Jabbar with a 1989 Rolls Royce in his final game at the Forum in 1989, Johnson turned to Vitti. “‘Do you imagine what it’s going to be like when it’s my turn?’” Vitti recalled Johnson saying to him.The tearThe Lakers held a mini-training camp in Santa Barbara before the 1989 NBA Finals to maximize their chances to win against the Detroit Pistons. The opposite happened. During a rebounding drill, Scott tore his left hamstring. “He knew it and I knew it,” Scott said. “After the first game there was no way possible I would be ready to play.”Johnson also injured his hamstring in Game 2, and the Lakers lost in a four-game sweep. “He was still trying to see if he could get it fired up,” Scott said of Vitti. “I had so many burn marks in my legs.”Warning signsLeading into training camp in 1991, Johnson constantly complained of fatigue. So much that Johnson asked Vitti if he could miss any exhibition games. Johnson then was asked to be sent home from a preseason game in Utah for unknown reasons.Vitti wondered dreadfully if that related to the HIV test Johnson took for a life insurance policy. So as he treated a sprained ankle on guard Tony Smith, Vitti told him, “You’re going to get better. Some people aren’t.”The newsShortly after, Lakers physician Michael Melman informed Vitti of what he already feared. Johnson tested positive for HIV, which Vitti and many others considered a death sentence.Johnson did not think that way.“‘I’m going to be fine,’” Vitti recalled Johnson saying. “‘When God gave me this disease, he gave it to the right person. I’m going to do something really good with this.’”Vitti cried. Johnson still smiled. The announcementA month later, the Lakers learned news already leaked about Johnson’s health. So West told Vitti to instruct everyone to arrive at the Forum at 2 p.m. Vitti informed the team, “What you hear today will change your life.” After telling all of his teammates, Johnson hugged Vitti another time. “‘You and I have already done this,’” Vitti recalled saying. “‘But it doesn’t make it any easier.’”Controversial cutJohnson exceeded everyone’s expectations. Not only had Johnson stayed alive. He returned to the NBA both for the beginning of the 1992-93 season and later in of the 1995-96 campaign. But what would happen if Johnson suffers an open wound in a game? Vitti insisted not to worry. Vitti followed through on his word in a 1992 preseason game when Johnson received a scratch on his forearm. “I felt eyes burning holes in my head. But there was no way I was going to wear a glove for this, a non bloody wound,” Vitti said. “It would have sent a mixed message, especially to our players.”So Vitti treated the scratch with his hands. The Occupational Safety and Health Administration (OSSHA) investigated the incident before eventually exonerating him. Since then, Vitti has received praise for bringing more awareness to HIV. “I took a lot of criticism. But if I had to do it all over again, I would do it,” Vitti said. “It has come out now that was the right thing to do. But going through it was no fun.” An idolWell before he ever played an NBA game, Bryant viewed Vitti as a “legend” after watching some of his training instructional videos. So, Bryant relished the time he and Vitti ran sprints together during Bryant’s first NBA training camp in Hawaii in 1996. “We forged a bond the first day,” Bryant said. “We’ve been close ever since.”The Zen MasterDespite Jackson’s calm exterior, Vitti found him just as restless and competitive as Riley in two different stints with the Lakers (1999-2004, 2005-2011). “Pat was completely controlling all the time,” Vitti said. “Phil was more controlling off the court, but not as much during games. Phil did all his coaching in practice.”Jackson also had some unique coaching techniques. “He calls a timeout, and we have one player that’s complaining to the official and Phil walks straight and [referee] Joey Crawford is there,” Vitti recalled about a certain game. “Phil looks at his own player, and tells Joey, ‘Joey, give him a [technical].’ What coach would tell an official to give his own player a T?”That appears to be Jackson, who apparently had a simple approach on coaching Bryant in his second stint after the two initially clashed.Said Vitti: “Phil just stopped arguing with him.” Miracle workerNearly 16 years later, Bryant admitted he “should not have played” in the 2000 NBA Finals against the Indiana Pacers after spraining his left ankle. After Bryant sat out part of Game 2 and all of Game 3, Vitti restored both Bryant’s health and the Lakers’ championship hopes. “He’s moving my ankle and all of a sudden I heard this loud pop,” Bryant said. “We looked at each other and said, ‘This is either really good or really bad.’ I started walking around and was like, ‘Damn, you fixed it!’”Venting sessionVitti has staunchly defended the Lakers through all his 32 years. During his trade demands in the 2007 demands, however, Bryant often vented to Vitti because of their close relationship. “He was serious,” Vitti said. “He was at a crossroads. He wanted to win and he wanted this franchise to make moves that they needed to do to win.”Vitti then offered some context.“It’s not like [the Lakers] didn’t want to win. Of course they wanted to win, but the way they were going about it wasn’t what [Kobe] thought was the fast track,” Vitti said. “So he held them hostage.”Eventually the Lakers acquired Pau Gasol, a move that spurred three NBA Finals appearances and two NBA titles. But would the Lakers have ever dealt Bryant?Said Vitti: “Dr. Buss was not going to let him go.”You are what you eatIf only Bryant did not order a bacon cheeseburger and cheesecake for room service. Then, Bryant would not have experienced food poisoning before Game 2 of the 2002 Western Conference Finals against the Sacramento Kings. That did not stop Bryant, though, from playing and scoring 22 points. “In the middle of the night, he had crawled up like a shrimp,” Vitti said of Bryant. “He looked like he was on death’s door.”Easing the painThe arthritis in Bryant’s right index finger did not become painful enough in the 2009-10 season that he would no longer shoot. It just became painful enough that Bryant needed various splints and bandages on his finger. Bryant also put more pressure on his middle finger to release the ball. As Vitti endlessly wrapped Bryant’s finger throughout that season, even the Lakers’ star player could not handle the pain at times.“‘Why are you making such a big deal about this?’” Vitti once asked. “‘You’ve had worse things than this.’”“You’re right,” Bryant said. “Thank you. I needed that.”Moment of doubtOn one night, Vitti witnessed Bryant both at his most dominant and insecure. After tearing his left Achilles tendon against Golden State on April 13, 2013 in what marked a season-ending injury, Bryant insisted to Vitti he could still play. “Maybe I can run on my heel,” Bryant told Vitti.Bryant then made a pair of foul shots before walking off the floor. Vitti called that incident Bryant’s “gutsiest moment.” In the trainer’s room, however, Vitti saw Bryant cry, curse and throw a couple of Gatorade bottles out of frustration.“It’s the first time that I saw doubt in his mind where he thought, ‘Maybe I can’t do this,’” Vitti said. A few hours later, Bryant changed his mind.“By the time I was driving home, I got a call that [Kobe’s] doing the surgery first thing in the morning,” Vitti said. “He didn’t even give himself a chance to mourn.”Second guessingFour words partly prompted influenced Vitti’s retirement plans.“I broke my leg,” Lakers forward Julius Randle said after playing only 14 minutes in the season opener of the 2014-15 campaign. Days later, Randle mentioned he had suffered a bone bruise in the same leg earlier in training camp after he accidentally knocked into a bed post.“That’s when I really lost it,” said Vitti, who had overseen the Lakers miss a combined 827 games because of injuries the previous three seasons. “I felt that it was my fault. Everyone has told me it wasn’t my fault. But I have carried that for a while.”Vitti ranked Randle’s injury as the second-most devastating experience behind Johnson testing positive for HIV. Yet, Randle has staunchly defended Vitti. “It wasn’t GV’s fault at all,” Randle said. “He wished he could have done more. But there’s nothing else he could have done.”Farewell tour, part 2Vitti has laughed over Bryant’s retirement poem. Vitti has chuckled over Bryant’s warm reception at road games after spending his 20-year NBA career hearing nothing but boos. Vitti also sounded amused Bryant has become “almost like a real human being.”“‘If we were in the hunt and if we had a shot to win, you wouldn’t be this nice guy that you are and having fun,’” Vitti recalled telling Bryant this season. “‘You’d be mad all the time and biting people’s heads off.’”Bryant’s response: “Absolutely. You’re right.”The Lakers wished Bryant’s exit coincided with another championship parade for both parties’ sakes. Still, Vitti wondered if this happened by design. “The basketball gods let him off the hook his last year of his career,” Vitti said, “so he could go out as a regular guy.”The basketball gods may have also orchestrated Bryant and Vitti ending their career together. “To have this relationship with him all these years,” Bryant said,” and to be going out at the same time is pretty sweet.”
BUSINESS: It has been described by those who have discovered it as Letterkenny’s best kept secret and we can understand why.Snugly situated on the Joe Bonnar Road – opposite LYIT with ample convenient FREE parking this is a place like no other in the County of Donegal! Established three years ago as a Craft Centre for local talent, with a coffee shop as an added advantage, this same “Hidden Gem” has now grown into a 72 seater Eaterie/Coffee shop with a wealth of local paintings, craft and beautiful giftware.So not only does it serve locally sourced healthy produce for breakfast and lunch, there is also a wide variety of wonderful desserts tray bakes and treats to suit all.And another added bonus to their continuing success is the appointment of new French Head Chef Etienne Meyer.Etienne joined the team in March and previous to that was the long serving and highly regarded Head Chef of Kee’s Hotel and Leisure Club in Stranorlar. Speaking of his appointment owner Anne Marie Bonnar told Donegal Daily, “We are thrilled to welcome Etienne to our wonderful team, his reputation in Kee’s Hotel was formidable and he demonstrates unique culinary flair and creativity in service.”Etienne is also enjoying his new post and looks forward to create dishes with a health conscious emphasis incorporating the French flair.As well documented French Cuisine is noted as the world’s best and the skill and passion that our talented Chef has towards his profession speaks on the plates delivered to our customers.Chef Meyer has a very impressive resume from early days learning from the best in his native country.He settled in Ballybofey in 2003 with wife and daughter and held the realms of the entire Kitchen and brigade in Kee’s Hotel where he created the popular Sunday Carvery along with a host of various other menus which contributed greatly to the consistently high reputation of good food it holds.Mindful of customers’ dietary requirements, Chef Meyer is most proficient in meeting whatever the customer requires. He is a firm believer that it is not the “talk” that will promote his food. The answer lays within the taste. The Moonshine team are progressing and learning daily from his expertise.Chef Meyer sums up the ingredients required in his plans for marking Moonshine Coffee Shop and Craft Studio a unique eating experience, he told Donegal Daily, “From my early days in working up the ranks throughout my country it was quality raw ingredients combined with flavour.“I am blessed to be in Donegal where I can obtain the highest quality meats, fish and vegetables to create healthy dishes. It is a matter of embellishing these ingredients without overstatement.“It is all about taste, price and wellbeing, remembering that our customer is number one and ensuring a wonderful meal experience. It’s that simple!” Opened from 9.30am till 5:00pm Monday to Saturday, Moonshine Coffee Shop and Craft studio is the formidable place to visit.Their new breakfast is available from 9.30am till 12 noon. A wide varied menu is available as well as Chef Meyer’s daily specials from 12pm.It is the ideal spot for a meeting spot for friends, business lunches or for a fabulous coffee. Conference facilities are available upstairs where we are currently resigning our new Moonshine art galleryYou will discover the unique concept that is Moonshine Coffee shop and Craft Studio. Letterkenny’s hidden gem.If you want more more information on their daily menu’s and special offers – then check out their brilliant Facebook page which is updated daily!https://www.facebook.com/moonshinecoffeeandcraft/?fref=tsBelow are a series of images which show some of the delicious dishes available in Letterkenny’s ‘Hidden Gem’!Bon appetit!FRENCH FLAIR HAS ARRIVED AT MOONSHINE COFFEE SHOP AND CRAFT STUDIO! was last modified: June 1st, 2016 by Mark ForkerShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)Tags:BusinesschefCraft ShopFeaturesFlairFrenchheadMoonshine Cafenews