Friday, March 8, 2013

Two shows of sportsmanship

I've covered games the past two nights, and I've seen two rather awesome displays of sportsmanship.

Following the Peters Township hockey team's 7-3 win Thursday over Central Catholic in the PIHL Penguins Cup Class AAA quarterfinals, Vikings coach J. Kirk Freyvogel Jr. stopped his Peters Township counterpart, Rick Tingle, in the hallway outside the Indians' dressing room. He had a request.

"Can I talk to the players real quick?" Freyvogel Jr. asked.

Tingle, though he had to be a little surprised, said OK and popped his head in the room to remind his players to show the opposing coach some respect.

Turns out Freyvogel Jr. wanted to praise the Indians in person for how classy, mature and -- for lack of a better term -- correctly they played

"I got a chance to tell some of their guys in the (handshake) line, but I wanted to make sure that I got all of them because they have a great team," Freyvogel Jr. told me when I asked why he did what he did. "They play the game the right way, and I wanted to let them know."

I asked Freyvogel Jr. whether he's done this before, and the answer was no; he simply felt compelled on this night because of how impressed he was with Peters Township.

Given the Indians' 18-4 record and 14-game winning streak, I doubt he's the only one. But going into the winning locker room when you're the losing coach isn't exactly something you see every day.

Friday I drove to Gannon University in Erie for a PIAA Class AA first round game between the McGuffey girls basketball team and North East, which turned out to be a 59-49 loss for the Highlanders.

If you've never been to Gannon's Hammermill Center -- I hadn't -- it's a tight squeeze. A very tight squeeze. Press row sits directly in front of the front row of seats, the normal distance between every other row.

The biggest problem was that this was the only way to get from one end of the court to the other, making it a rather busy pathway.

At the end of press row to my left was the McGuffey bench, also packed tight with the first row of seats. Basically there was a few-inches-wide path to tip-toe through.

Early in the fourth quarter, a print photographer whom I do not know tripped/slipped and went down hard. Several folks, included myself, looked on, worried. Mid-timeout, McGuffey head coach Amanda Burchett, with her team facing at least a seven-point deficit the entire night, broke from the huddle to help.

Very classy move. Would've been easier for her to keep her nose to the grindstone, to be so focused on a basketball game to not care. Not that she deserves a Purple Heart or anything like that, but it's cool to see such a selfless reaction.

Guess both incidents give me a little bit more faith in the human race. Thanks y'all.

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