When it comes to sports I'm a real sucker for stories about sportsmanship. It seems to be such a rare thing.
I'm on the board for the local youth tackle football league and the stuff I've seen at games has often forced me to question my faith in humanity.
So when I come across a story about sportsmanship like this one about a Dekalb, Illinois basketball team I can't help but get a little choked up.
The story is really worth reading but here's a summary: Johntell Franklin was one of the star players of the team they were playing was late to the game because he had just left the hospital where his mother had passed away from cervical cancer. Even though he was grieving he still wanted to play in the game, but under the rules his team would be assessed a technical foul if they put him in.
Out of sympathy the DeKalb coach asked the referee let let Franklin play to waive the technical, which the referee refused. The DeKalb coach then asked for a volunteer to shoot the two technical free throw shots. Senior Darius McNeal volunteered.
He went alone to the free throw line, dribbled the ball a couple of times, and looked at the rim.
His first attempt went about two feet, bouncing a couple of times as it rolled toward the end line. The second barely left his hand.
It didn't take long for the Milwaukee players to figure out what was going on.
They stood and turned toward the DeKalb bench and started applauding the gesture of sportsmanship. Soon, so did everybody in the stands.
"I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was the right thing to do."
THAT'S what team sports should be about.