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One play sums up career

April 2, 2014

It was senior night at the gym and all of the graduating players were escorted to center court by their parents to ovations like they had never heard before.

But one ovation was louder than the others.

This kid wasn't the star player on the team, but thanks to his intelligent decision-making and unselfish, blue-collar style of play, he was a fan favorite. As his rec-league coach once told him, he played the game "the right way."

He was never a ball hog, always picked his teammates up no matter the circumstance, and took great pride in never getting in a physical altercation with an opponent.

A play at the end of one of his last game summed up his style of play perfectly. With less than 20 seconds to play and his team up by plenty, he got the ball after a rebound and streaked up the court as the opposition wearily struggled to get back on defense. He could easily have gone in for a layup for another two points in the scorebook, but instead, he pulled up at half court, held onto the ball and let time run out.

That play more than any other all season showcased some of the important things about sports parents try to instill in their children from the beginning. I'm not talking about how to shoot a basketball or swing a bat, but more important lessons like playing unselfishly, always trying your hardest, and supporting your teammates win or lose. Lessons that help shape boys into fine young men, on and off the court.

That player's youth sports highlights included scoring five goals in an ice hockey game, 20 points in a basketball game, and striking out 13 batters in a six-inning Little League game. But I can honestly say that one unselfish move at the end of his final game made his father the proudest.

To me, the applause he received that night wasn't just about a season, but rather a lifetime of sports achievements on and off the court. And now it was all over.

The next time you go watch your child play, savor the moment. It won't last forever take it from me.

Jon Buzby's columns appear in newspapers and magazines around the country as well as numerous websites. Email comments or questions to



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