Showing sportsmanship when the chips are down

boys basketball teammates help up opponent
An Emery player sits on the court as Red Devils Milo Birdwell, left, and Chasee Croasmun move to help him up. Photo by Anthony Militano

I was at the last boys basketball game of the season on Friday, Feb. 7. Ouch, that was a tough one. I’m not saying the referees were wrong, but the loss was quite a bitter pill to swallow. Competitive sports by nature involve winning and losing; when an athlete steps on the court or on the field, there is a chance even the best of them will lose.

Anthony Militano

The Grand County boys and girls basketball teams had a tough season and both teams were caught in between the “warm the bus up” controversy. I appeal to Red Devils fans, young and old alike: let’s put any bitterness and anger behind us.

I’m not asking for a truce. I’m asking for all of us to move on. I’ve changed over the past month. I used to have a proud and steadfast mantra and perhaps some know my brazen philosophy: the photos are always better when the team wins.

I don’t believe the photos are always better when team wins anymore. I was wrong and I now understand “warm the bus up” was an attempt to boost school spirit.

Over the past month the boys and girls basketball teams endured repeated losses and yet Red Devil pride was still strong. I saw the Grand County Jazz Club at some of the games to help boost morale. The cheerleaders performed new routines. On Feb, 7, I’m almost certain I saw the entire girls basketball team in the stands to support the boys a day after they were soundly defeated by the Emery Spartans.

I may have captured one of the best photos of my journalistic career in Moab. The photo shows who we really are and a picture might be worth 1,000 words, but the story behind this photo may not be obvious.

Emery committed a foul late in the game. The photo shows an Emery player on the ground as Red Devils Chasee Croasmun and Milo Birdwell move to help him up. The photo captured true sportsmanship and reflects well on the entire Grand County program.

I believe in doing unto others as I want them to do unto me and firmly believe in karma. Win or lose, doesn’t this photo represent who we are at heart?