(Editor’s Note: The following column was written by Dean Hockney, Publisher of the Sports Journal of Central Indiana. It originally appeared in his publication on Nov. 4. It is being reprinted on our site with his permission).
If anyone reads this column regularly, I like to stress good sportsmanship and try and highlight such acts when they are brought to my attention. More often than not, poor sportsmanship is what garners attention; and thus, our young athletes see that behavior and repeat what they saw on television or read in the paper.
Indianapolis Public Schools seem to be the worst in the area when it comes to poor sportsmanship and that is probably only the case because they have a huge media spotlight on them. I have no doubt that IPS has many acts of good sportsmanship, but it just does not come to light. Between fights on the football field and student-athletes getting in trouble with law enforcement, Metro Indianapolis schools are drug through the mud more than what they probably should be.
That is why I was thrilled when I read the following from IPS concerning a volleyball student-athlete:
A George Washington Community High School volleyball player is raising the bar for sportsmanship in our community. George Washington student July Moe’s honesty at a recent match was so impressive the referee reported her to the Indiana High School Athletic Association!
During the city tournament earlier this month, George Washington trailed Broad Ripple Magnet High School for the Arts and Humanities in the third set. A ball attacked by Broad Ripple went out of bounds on the George Washington end line, and the point was given to the Continentals. July retrieved the ball for the referee and told him her hand actually brushed the ball on its way out of bounds. The call was reversed, and the point went to Broad Ripple.
“Her honesty and integrity did not go unnoticed,” referee Ed Thornburgh told the IHSAA when he reported this example of good sportsmanship. “I have been a volleyball official for 30-plus years and have never been given an honor call by a player.”
After the game, Mr. Thornburg pulled July and her coach aside to compliment this player’s exemplary behavior. He also gave July the rare flip coin he has used to begin matches all over the country for more than 20 years.
“I officiate on average over 400 matches per year, so this coin has been with me for somewhere between 6,000 and 10,000 coin tosses. This young lady’s example for good sportsmanship impressed me so much that I gave her the most valuable thing I had with me- my flip coin. And it was worth it,” Thornburg said.
The referee said July’s honor call made his entire season a huge success. There are many fantastic IPS ambassadors in our athletic program, and we’re glad members of our community are taking note. Congratulations to July Moe on this wonderful recognition!
I can’t imagine when I was a player that I would have been so honest, and I can’t say I have ever seen such an act in person.
So hats off to July Moe and her honesty.