Our Lady of Guadalupe’s (OLG) 7th grade girls basketball team is something to behold. The Sportsmanship Brigade witnessed this stellar squad take on St. Angela Merici on Friday night. On the youth level, games are rarely won by great athletes. Victory usually happens for the more fundamentally sound team. Relative to basketball, the unit that can dribble with either hand, play defense without fouling and make open layups has a great chance of winning. Twelve-year-olds don’t take over games. Wins are a team effort.
OLG is skilled, tough, disciplined and respectful. The six girls who rotated in and out of Friday night’s contest would probably be the star of most other teams. They can all run, pass, dribble and shoot. None of them are defensive liabilities, either. Yet, they play as if they are trying to achieve something rather than just win something. OLG sprinted out to a 20-point advantage after the first quarter.
While the game’s outcome was all but certain, its level of sportsmanship was not. Big leads sometime prompt the team in control to start showing up the other team by pointing and laughing or doing some sort of silly dance. The team on the short end may respond with increased fouls or verbal outbursts directed at coaches, officials or the opponent.
Both teams held it together, though. Their coaches made sure the game became a teaching moment and each unit used the opportunity to find success on individual plays and just get better. On one particular play, a St. Angela player was inadvertently hit while jumping for a rebound and knocked to the floor. Three OLG players quickly turned and extended their hands to help the young lady.
OLG is a strong basketball team, but the players showed even greater strength when they reached down to help a fallen opponent up. The Sportsmanship Brigade was impressed by this team’s humility, discipline and skill. What’s even more impressive is the fact that their parish does not have a gym. So, every game is a road game for these girls. They played an outstanding game and showed outstanding sportsmanship. Watch out for these young ladies in the future. They will undoubtedly do great things on the court and beyond.
The Sportsmanship Brigade is a group of Sports Commission volunteers who attend youth sporting events looking for acts of good sportsmanship. Athletes, coaches, parents, fans and officials who exhibit good sportsmanship are rewarded with a certificate of recognition and a gift card to a local business. For more on the Brigade, including scheduling and volunteering information, please visit sportsmanship.org or call 314-345-5130.