Friday, February 20, 2009

Using Social Networks to Share a Story

With all the issues of cyber-bullying and online predators dominating the news the last couple of weeks, two high school sports stories really stuck out to me this week that are from opposite ends of the spectrum. They have nothing to do with either cyber-bullying or online predators -- instead they are examples of how we shouldn't and should use social networks to share a story. The first story, unfortunately, did make the rounds on social networking pages, and the second story, which could likely win an ESPY this year, has yet to be seen online except in the media.

The first story comes out of the state high school basketball tournament in South Caroline. A video was posted on a social networking site of a huge brawl after a hard foul near the end of the game. The stands emptied and players and fans on both teams were involved in a 20 minute plus melee, the footage was posted on several social networking sites, and ultimately made it into the mainstream media.

The second story is of an act of sportsmanship and character that makes tears well up in your eyes. The short version is a Wisconsin high school basketball player's 39 year old mother unexpectedly died of cancer. He showed up to his game over 2 hours away to play after saying he wouldn't be there. He walked in after the game began and asked to play. Knowing the situation, the other team stopped the game, let him get dressed and come to the court. His coach had not put his name in the score book, so upon entering the game, he would be assessed a technical foul. The other team argued they didn't want the call, but the referee insisted. After gathering his players and asking which one wanted to take the shots, a senior guard raised his hand. He looked at the coach and said, "You know I'm going to miss, right?" the coach nodded. He took his spot at the free throw line and took the ball from the referee and twice took shots that barely made it past his arms -- obvious intentional misses. This received a standing ovation from the crowd, all of whom knew what the situation was.

This is the kind of story that needs to be shared on social networking sites -- it shows character and leadership. Let's hope that whoever had their cell phone or camcorder rolling at this point in the game will post it sometime soon. It surely will receive serious consideration for an ESPN ESPY award. For now, we have the story:

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