Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

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Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by verdilak » Thu Feb 19, 2009 6:23 pm

The coach never considered any other option.

It didn't matter that his DeKalb, Ill., High School basketball team had ridden a bus two and a half hours to get to Milwaukee, then waited another hour past game time to play. Didn't matter that the game was close, or that this was a chance to beat a big city team.

Something else was on Dave Rohlman's mind when he asked for a volunteer to shoot two free throws awarded his team on a technical foul in the second quarter. His senior captain raised his hand, ready to go to the line as he had many times before.

Only this time it was different.

"You realize you're going to miss them, don't you?" Rohlman said.

Darius McNeal nodded his head. He understood what had to be done.

It was a Saturday night in February, and the Barbs were playing a non-conference game on the road against Milwaukee Madison. It was the third meeting between the two schools, who were developing a friendly rivalry that spanned two states.

The teams planned to get together after the game and share some pizzas and soda. But the game itself almost never took place.

Hours earlier, the mother of Milwaukee Madison senior captain Johntel Franklin died at a local hospital. Carlitha Franklin had been in remission after a five-year fight with cervical cancer, but she began to hemorrhage that morning while Johntel was taking his college ACT exam.

Her son and several of his teammates were at the hospital late that afternoon when the decision was made to turn off the life-support system. Carlitha Franklin was just 39.

"She was young and they were real close," said Milwaukee coach Aaron Womack Jr., who was at the hospital. "He was very distraught and it happened so suddenly he didn't have time to grieve."

Womack was going to cancel the game, but Franklin told him he wanted the team to play. And play they did, even though the game started late and Milwaukee Madison dressed only eight players.

Early in the second quarter, Womack saw someone out of the corner of his eye. It was Franklin, who came there directly from the hospital to root his teammates on.

The Knights had possession, so Womack called a time out. His players went over and hugged their grieving teammate. Fans came out of the stands to do the same.

"We got back to playing the game and I asked if he wanted to come and sit on the bench," Womack said during a telephone interview.

"No," Franklin replied. "I want to play."

There was just one problem. Since Franklin wasn't on the pre-game roster, putting him in meant drawing a technical foul that would give DeKalb two free throws.

Though it was a tight game, Womack was willing to give up the two points. It was more important to help his senior guard and co-captain deal with his grief by playing.

Over on the other bench, though, Rohlman wasn't so willing to take them. He told the referees to forget the technical and just let Franklin play.

"I could hear them arguing for five to seven minutes, saying, `We're not taking it, we're not taking it," Womack said. "The refs told them, no, that's the rule. You have to take them."

That's when Rohlman asked for volunteers, and McNeal's hand went up.

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."

Franklin would go on to score 10 points, and Milwaukee Madison broke open the game in the second half to win 62-47. Afterward, the teams went out for pizza, two players from each team sharing each pie.

Franklin stopped by briefly, thankful that his team was there for him.

"I got kind of emotional but it helped a lot just to play," he said. "I felt like I had a lot of support out there."

Carlitha Franklin's funeral was last Friday, and the school turned out for her and her son. Cheerleaders came in uniform, and everyone from the principal and teachers to Johntel's classmates were there.

"Even the cooks from school showed up," Womack said. "It lets you know what kind of kid he is."

Basketball is a second sport for the 18-year-old Franklin, who says he has had some scholarship nibbles and plans to play football in college. He just has a few games left for the Knights, who are 6-11 and got beat 71-36 Tuesday night by Milwaukee Hamilton.

It hasn't been the greatest season for the team, but they have stuck together through a lot of adversity.

"We maybe don't have the best basketball players in the world but they go to class and take care of business," Womack said. "We have a losing record but there's life lessons going on, good ones."

None so good, though, as the moment a team and a player decided there were more important things than winning and having good stats.

Yes, DeKalb would go home with a loss. But it was a trip they'll never forget.

"This is something our kids will hold for a lifetime," Rohlman said. "They may not remember our record 20 years from now, but they'll remember what happened in that gym that night."


:s_sad :s_cry
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by Cyberpaladin85 » Mon Mar 16, 2009 6:17 pm

Personally, if a catastrophic event happened to me, and someone let me win because of that, or treated me better because of that and thus causing me to win, I do not know if I could ever forgive such a irreconcileable act. To act out on your thoughts that I need an easy, false victory to cheer myself up, when I want to fight and rightfully earn said victory, I can not think of a lower blow dealt in the name of "good intentions."

Don't meant to sound like a bastard, but that's just the way I think.


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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by NulSyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:10 pm

Cyberpaladin85 wrote:Personally, if a catastrophic event happened to me, and someone let me win because of that, or treated me better because of that and thus causing me to win, I do not know if I could ever forgive such a irreconcileable act. To act out on your thoughts that I need an easy, false victory to cheer myself up, when I want to fight and rightfully earn said victory, I can not think of a lower blow dealt in the name of "good intentions."

Don't meant to sound like a bastard, but that's just the way I think.

Agreed, this was not sportsmanship. Sportsmanship is offering to have the game another time, to play on even ground. Not giving a free victory because you feel sorry for them. I have seen many people point to things like this and call it sportmanship....it only makes me wonder if they have ever played any sports in their life.......(no direspect to anyone)
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by verdilak » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:18 pm

Sorry, but the team who won, would have won even if the free throws werent given up like that. There was no free victory given. All that was done, was give the team back the 2 points that they would have lost due to presenting a player not on the roster.
ImageImage
"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by NulSyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:30 pm

verdilak wrote:Sorry, but the team who won, would have won even if the free throws werent given up like that. There was no free victory given. All that was done, was give the team back the 2 points that they would have lost due to presenting a player not on the roster.

Still the cheating of rules for a assured victory. To me it doesn't represent sportsmanship of any kind, and hurts the free throw record of someone who obviously would want a good record for his future in the sport. 2 miss throws for someone who is the normal go to guy can hurt a record rather bad.
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by verdilak » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:32 pm

Is it cheating to miss a free throw, no matter how badly you missed?

I feel it was rather sportsmanship because noone on the team felt that it was right to penalize the other team 2 points like that... so they gave it back through the free throws.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by NulSyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:35 pm

verdilak wrote:Is it cheating to miss a free throw, no matter how badly you missed?

I feel it was rather sportsmanship because noone on the team felt that it was right to penalize the other team 2 points like that... so they gave it back through the free throws.

Actually missing them on purpose is considered part of "throwing the game". Like I said in the land of sports and stats expecting a man on your team who is your best free throw shooter(since he seems to be the go to guy) to lower his record for anything is definitely bad sportsmanship.

The penalizing is in the rules......sorry its part of the game.
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by verdilak » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:41 pm

All rules have exceptions heh, and the team that gave up the free throws felt good with the decision to do so. If it was that the other team won by 1-2 points, then I can see that they threw the game... that they won by a higher amount says that they didnt throw the game.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by NulSyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:44 pm

verdilak wrote:All rules have exceptions heh, and the team that gave up the free throws felt good with the decision to do so. If it was that the other team won by 1-2 points, then I can see that they threw the game... that they won by a higher amount says that they didnt throw the game.

Actually we can't say that.....how many players played worse because their coach had already instilled a sense of sympathy and sadness? How many players because of all this decided no longer to play their damndest?

A coach's job is to teach his players to always do their best, there is no room for do less for sympathy in sports.......give the guy your condolences outside the game don't bring it into the game.
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by verdilak » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:50 pm

I dunno... I played basketball and I would have done the same... yeah, I could be all a stickler for the rules and whatnot, but I feel that the team actually showing care and whatnot was a good thing. They felt the 2 points should have been waived due to the circumstances, and they all seemed happy with that choice. I bet if they were threatened with being thrown out for missing the shots on purpose, they would have happily done so. Sure, there was sympathy, but there was also a great sense of teammanship there.

In wrestling, no, I wouldnt have ever done that, mainly because there are not similar rules heh.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by NulSyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 7:58 pm

Where I played, as soon as the story aired....the school would have been suspended for at least a game, assuming the refs didn't know earlier. In soccer you would have gotten the shit kicked out of you for doing it....by the opposing team.....baseball close to the same.

I stick to "no room in sports" for these mentalities. I have had to miss games because of close family members deaths and even less reasons and I knew the rules for if I showed up off roster......its a choice, take the penalty by the rules and hop in...or don't......showing this kind of sympathy from the opposing team is actually pretty ridiculous in the situation and its no wonder they lost by so much if this is what they are taught in sports.

YMMV and IMHO and all that.
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by verdilak » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:01 pm

Nod, I am just a sucker for this type of thing heh. It also didnt help that the teams were friends and all that.
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"I'm imagining Kiera Knightly, Katherine Zeta-Jones, Angelina and Meg Fox sitting around your map wearing bandanas vigorously shaking fists full of d20s." - Aval Penworth, in regards to a map I made
"We're talking about the GM that made us fight giant Fruit, Verd is totally unpredictable." - Nikurasu (one of my players)
Everyone is an atheist about some gods, we just went one god further. - Richard Dawkins
Ism's in my opinion are not good. A person should not believe in an -ism, he should believe in himself. I quote John Lennon, "I don't believe in Beatles, I just believe in me."--Ferris Bueller, 1986
To the human body, a spoonful of flour and a spoonful of sugar are identical.
"Seeing, contrary to popular wisdom, isn't believing. It is where belief stops, because it isn't needed any more." - Terry Pratchett, Pyramids
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by NulSyn » Mon Mar 16, 2009 8:09 pm

You big softy! :s_tongue
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Re: Amid the grieving, a rare act of sportsmanship

PostPosted by yukongil » Wed Jun 03, 2009 1:22 pm

I don't know, the lesson that somethings are more important than a sports game and winning is a pretty big one, and I'd say any lesson they learn, no really ANY lesson they learn from this is more important than another knotch in the win catagory.
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