St. Joan of Arc was down 8-4 to St. James halfway through the third quarter in a CYC 6th grade basketball matchup earlier this evening. Then, something happened that sucked the collective breath out of the gym. Joan of Arc guard George Buckingham hustled to grab a loose ball that was headed out of bounds. His momentum carried him into the un-padded portion of the wall. The smack of concrete against his 11-year-old spine sent chills throughout the building. George’s mom jumped from the top row of the bleachers in what looked like a single bound and ran to her son. One of the Joan of Arc assistant coaches is a firefighter and ran to George’s aid as well.
He was on the floor for several minutes. Thankfully, George was able to stand and walked gingerly to the bench. After some ice and TLC from mom, George was back in the game. The young man decided to wear his injury as a captain’s badge and began encouraging his teammates to hustle and get back down the court on defense. Every pass, assist and shot came with a grimace of pain for George. He didn’t stop playing and he didn’t complain. Another Joan of Arc player scored a basket that gave the team its first lead late in the fourth quarter. George was the first to meet his teammate and pat him on the back. St. Joan of Arc went on to win the game 15-14. The Sportsmanship Brigade chose George as today’s award winner.
I explained to him that he didn’t receive the award because his team won. He received the award because he used his injury to uplift his team. He could have easily stayed out of the game and let his mom take care of him. No one would have blamed him for that. However, he showed the character and spirit of a true champion. He used his gifts to make others better. This was a grand way to start 2012 for the Sportsmanship Brigade and we are looking forward to more as the basketball season wears on. The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who visit youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, parents, coaches and fans who display good sportsmanship are rewarded with a certificate of recognition and a gift card to a local business. For more information about the Sportsmanship Brigade, including scheduling and volunteer information, please click here or call 314-345-5130. Until next time…
Be a Good Sport!