Eye of the Hurricane

March 3, 2009

doing the right thing

Filed under: Uncategorized — sturner11 @ 10:36 pm

In an era that is seemingly defined by athletes making the wrong choices, it’s good to know that every once in awhile they make the right ones.

As DeKalb High School senior Darius McNeal stepped up to the line to shoot his free throws, he focused intently.

Not on making the two shots, but on missing them.

Rules dictate that if a player not originally in the scorebook enters the game, a technical penalty is assessed as a result.

Such was the situation for the Milwaukee Madison high school team facing DeKalb that night.

Johntell Franklin, a senior for Milwaukee, showed up to the gym late in second quarter after having lost his mother to cancer earlier that day.

Franklin, who wasn’t expected to make an appearance, told his coach Aaron Womack Jr. that he wanted to play.

Knowing that they would be penalized with a technical foul, Womack was prepared to put himin anyway, but their DeKalb opponents were well aware of the situation.

DeKalb coach Dave Rohlman told officials he didn’t want to technical foul called.

The referees had no choice but to enforce the rules.

Rohlman and his team found a way around those rules.

“I gathered my kids around and said, ‘Who wants to take these free throws?”’ Rohlman said. “Darius McNeal put his hand up. I said, ‘You realize you’re going to miss, right?’ He nodded his head.”

McNeal set up at the line as if preparing for a routine free throw, but instead shot the ball only two or three feet in front of him, letting the ball roll on the court past the basket.

He did this twice.

” I did it for the guy who lost his mom,” McNeal said.

“It was the right thing to do.”

Womack, overwhelmed by the gesture of sportsmanship, wrote a letter to the DeKalb Daily Chronicle to recognize what the hometown coach and team had done.

It’s refreshing to see  these athletes break the rules for all the right reasons.


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