The Winning Play

I love feel good stories.  Can’t get enough of them actually.  So when I find one, I want to share it.  I just wish I could find them more often.

I found one such story while surfing the web recently.  It involves a high school basketball game played February 12th  of this year by two rival teams on the west side of El Paso, Texas.  With thirteen seconds remaining in the game, Jonathon Montanez of Franklin High School  threw a bounce pass that ended up in the hands of Coronado High School senior Mitchell Marcus causing a turnover.  Seconds later,  Marcus would record the only two points of his career, beating the buzzer, and the fans stormed the court cheering their teams newest star.

Ironically, Marcus’s shot did not win the game.  His team had a double digit lead when he entered the game with 1:33 seconds left.  And until he grabbed that bounce pass, things had not gone well for him.  He barely missed a three pointer and a long pass by a teammate had caromed off his shoulder and rolled out of bounds, giving Franklin the ball.

But here is why it is important.  Marcus is developmentally challenged.  He had never stepped on the court prior to this “senior night” game.  However, he had served the team faithfully for several years as the teams manager.  It wasn’t until this night that the coach told him to suit up that he donned the coveted uniform for the first time.  It was the coaches hope that Marcus would score a basket, capping his career with the team.  When that didn’t happen, Marcus was devastated.

Somehow, the young Jonathon Montanez knew instinctively what he had to do.  When the whistle blew to continue the game, he called Marcus’s name and threw the bounce pass to him.  To Montanez, it was only a 1 posted in the turnover column of the stats sheets.  To Marcus, his team, and the fans, it was a moment none would soon forget, if ever.

Many people would say “wasn’t it great that Marcus was able to score his basket and cap his career”.  This was, and no doubt will be one of the defining moments of his life.  However, I prefer to think “isn’t it great to know that there are young people like Jonathon Montanez out there that exhibit the compassion and maturity to put others before themselves”.  To possess, at such a young age, the moral character that instinctively told him “I can make a difference”.  So I ask you.  What do you think was the winning play”.  The basket, or the pass.

Postscript:  As a result of that action, both teams, their coaches, and their parents were guests of the NCAA at the Division 1 Men’s  Basketball South Regional Championship at Cowboys Stadium in Dallas between Florida and Florida Gulf Coast where they were honored by tens of thousands of people.  Now that makes me feel good.  

About oldmainer

I am a retired manager living in Southern Maine and a would be writer of poetry, narratives, short stories, and random opinions, and that's how Oldmainer was born. Recently, I decided to try an experiment. I added photography to the mix, using only a cheap cell phone with a limited camera and the editing software that came with it, and added the blog site Inklings at to showcase the results. So, feel free to use whatever you find interesting or worthy, but please honor the terms of my copyright when and if you do. They may not be much, but they are still a piece of me. I appreciate your checking me out and hope that you find something that will encourage a return visit. Thanks for stopping by.
This entry was posted in Integrity, Narrative, Random Thoughts, Sports and tagged , , . Bookmark the permalink.

2 Responses to The Winning Play

  1. splitspeak says:

    Loved it!! “winning” has a much wider meaning than we realize. “Winning” means going to sleep knowing you made someone else smile, even if for a while.


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