PSR ANYTIME. ANYWHERE. Introducing the Pittsburgh Sports Report eMagazine. Click to read and watch the best sports coverage in the region.
Tuesday September 16 2014
Leave this field empty.

Teammates

PSR Logo
We were trailing by three points, with less than a minute to play. It was our ball. My son Anthony, never bashful to shoot the basketball, was hitting nothing but net from beyond the arc.

As an assistant coach of his 5th and 6th grade basketball team, it was a pretty proud moment to see Anthony succeed in such a tension-filled moment. He rose to the occasion and hit a pressure packed shot in a packed Catholic school auditorium, on the road. To add to the tension, it was 8th grade recognition night, so the enemy crowd was raucous, anxious to get the younger game finished.


Our opponent took a time out. We implored our team not to foul. With 17 seconds left, we wanted to pressure the ball, and deny an entry pass in the paint. Our plan worked to perfection. Our opponent ate much of the clock before their point guard took a jump shot with 5 seconds left. It hit the back of the rim, and Anthony came down with the rebound. We were going to overtime. But wait, as the clock expired, Anthony was fouled! With no time left, he was going to the line. Since our opponent was in the bonus, Anthony had two shots to make one to win the game.


I have to admit, I felt terrible for the poor kid who fouled Anthony. He was the guy holding his head with both hands, his head bent over his knees. Anthony was grinning. Our team's best free-throw shooter, he confidently strutted to the line. His teammates locked their arms on the bench, about to explode onto the court, waiting for Anthony to swish the free-throw.


As Anthony stood all alone on the line, the opposing coach called a time out. Anthony was still all smiles as he walked back to the huddle. There was no way he was going to miss two shots. No way. Right?


After the time out, Anthony walked to the line. The crowd, led by the opposition's 8th graders in their farewell appearance in their school's uniforms, roared so loudly, you couldn't hear Anthony's bouncing the ball at the line.


As he launched his first shot, with perfect rotation, we thought it was over. Nope. The ball bounced on the front rim, then the back rim, the front rim again, and then remarkably, fell out. The fans went wild, raising the level of cheering and jeering. Panic may have set in, because Anthony missed the second attempt.


And you guessed it, we lost in overtime.


The ride home from the game was difficult. And silent. Until I passed the Dunkin' Donuts. That's when I pulled in and asked Anthony and his friend Gavin what kind of donut they wanted. It wasn't until the boys were half-way through their sugary treat when Gavin offered the words of friendship, support, and compassion.


"Hey Anthony," he said between bites. "Just so you know, I couldn't even hit the rim. I shoot like a Grandma."


I think Anthony learned a lot of lessons that night. As did I.


The best take-away for me? You are truly blessed when you have a teammate who has your back. It's easy to be friends when you are winning championships. But the value of a friend far exceeds a trophy. Anthony may have lost the chance to give his team the most points that night. But Gavin's touching words, and their friendship, makes me believe they did indeed walk away winners.

I spent three days late last month visiting 18 high schools across the WPIAL. I drove 533 miles, took hundreds of photographs, shook hands with dozens of coaches, athletic directors and principals and climbed way too many stadium steps. I loved every minute of it, of course.
Editor's DeskFeature OneHigh School
Chartiers-Houston got on the winning side for the first time this season with a 21-14 win over visiting Western Beaver in the Week 3 CoGo's Feature Matchup.
Feature TwoHSCOGOS2014Press Room
Ringgold knocked the Knoch Knights from the ranks of the unbeatens with a 20-12 win at Joe Montana Stadium on Friday night in the US Steel Game of the Week.
Feature ThreeHSUSS2014Press Room
The Pittsburgh Riverhounds 2014 season ended last Saturday much the same way their season started in the spring. With lots of promise, with much anticipation, but in the end, in a disappointing finish.
Feature FourSports Bites
PSR VIDEO
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 1 Xfinity HS FootballHigh School TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 2Pirates TV Channel
Full size video and summary... Misc YouTube Player 3USS HS GOTWHigh School TV Channel
Twenty-two WPIAL football teams will have new coaches pacing the sidelines this season, including a few that will be featured in the CoGo's Feature Matchup this season.
Custom 1HSCOGOS2014
Several of the most coveted recruits throughout the WPIAL have already made their college decisions, most notably Sterling Jenkins of Baldwin. Others, like Central Valley's Jordan Whitehead, are still being recruited.
Custom 2High SchoolKeystone Recruiting
Bill Cherpak misses the way it used to be. Back in the 80’s, when the current Thomas Jefferson High School coach was a player at Steel Valley, the recruiting process wasn’t publicized. It was low-key compared to the present.
Custom 3High School
The Mon-Valley has put plenty of athletes on Division 1 football teams over the years, including several who made it to the NFL. There are a few Mon-Valley natives playing D-1 ball this season.
Custom 4HSUSS2014