A Case of Extraordinary Sportsmanship

Can athletes go above and beyond the call of duty when it comes to good sportsmanship? If I saw correctly on 03/19/17, then the answer to the question is “Yes”.

Last Sunday, the University of Kentucky women’s basketball team played against Ohio State in Round 2 of the 2017 March Madness.

This game was particularly meaningful to UK point guard Makayla Epps, who has been one of the biggest stars of women’s collegiate basketball during the last 4 years.

Here is an excerpt from a story by the Louisville Courier-Journal:

“Makayla Epps couldn’t stand to sit in the final seconds of Kentucky’s season and her career.

She walked toward the Wildcats bench at Memorial Coliseum for the last time with :13.2 remaining in their 82-68 loss to Ohio State in the second round of the NCAA Tournament. After going through the gauntlet, being embraced by each teammate, coach and staffer she passed, she went off to a corner by herself as the final seconds ticked down.

Moments before, Epps had nearly brought her fourth-seeded Cats (22-11) back from a 19-point second-half deficit. However, the senior’s jumper, which cut the Buckeyes lead to 65-64 with 6:04 left, would be the last for her and her team. The Wildcats mustered only four points from the free-throw line down the stretch as they missed their final nine shots.”

When the game ended, the players on each team lined up for the routine hand-shake. That is when the Ohio State players went above and beyond the call of duty.

Instead of shaking her hand, several of the Ohio State players hugged Epps instead.

Being hugged by one’s teammates is to be expected. Being hugged by one’s opponents is something else.

I could be mistaken, since I don’t usually watch women’s sporting events. Perhaps it is common for female athletes to hug their opponents after a competition.

Still, to me, the Ohio State players showed extraordinary sportsmanship.

Perhaps what they did goes beyond sportsmanship.

Either way, the Ohio State players were classy.

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