Good sportsmanship is something that is heavily instilled in us as we play youth sports and activities growing up. The story of El Paso high school basketball players Mitchell Marcus and Jonathon Montanez goes far beyond good sportsmanship. It transcends sports actually. It reaches into an area of respect and friendship that is perhaps, a once in a lifetime occurrence.
On February 12, the two players, Montanez from Franklin and Marcus from Coronado, played in a game against one another. Montanez passed the ball to Marcus, who is a special-needs student and team manager. Marcus got to play in the team’s season finale and scored the last-second basket in his only high school game. The feel-good moment became an Internet sensation and hit with local media, CBS Evening News, ESPN’s SportsCenter and The Ellen Degeneres Show. Montanez and Marcus were flown to Los Angeles on March 3 to watch a LA Clippers/Oklahoma City Thunder game and meet NBS stars Chris Paul, Blake Griffin, Rony Turiaf and Kevin Durant.
This story exemplifies all that is right with our world today. So often we focus on negative aspects of our existence such as war, famine and hate. All these things are very real and need to be addressed. However, the progress we make must always be recognized too because if we continually acknowledge our problems without understanding the strides we make we have no hope. No hope equals no will to improve.
What Jonathon Montanez did during that game is commendable. He recognized the hard work, dedication and passion of Marcus. To never be rewarded for all of his efforts during his high school career as a manager would be a travesty. They say that hard work pays off and in this case it did for Marcus. Sometimes in life a bond can be made that stands so firm and strong it needs no reason or justification. It comes from an understanding between two individuals that runs deeper than competitive drive. It delves into what a person is made of in spirit and soul. In the end, that is the measure of a person.
To sum it up in one nice simple phrase, “pay it forward.” No good deed goes unrewarded in the end. One kind act builds upon another and in the end we will live in the world we truly want to live in. People get what they deserve. So deserve The Most Good!