Early March Goodness
March 19, 2013, 11:23 AM


   Have you filled out your bracket yet? It’s that time of year I pick my favorite team or player and the real rooting begins. This year for me it’s a little different, none of my teams made it to the tournament. So I will watch, but with not as much emotion as in years past. I still have my favorite moment and player for 2013. Someone you probably never heard of, Jonathan Montanez. He was a senior this year and played for the Franklin High Tigers in El Paso. It was not a year to remember, they went 15-14, but there was that unforgettable moment on Feb. 12th against their greatest rival, the El Paso Coronado Thunderbirds.

   The coach of the Thunderbirds, Peter Morales put his team’s manager, Mitchell Marcus into the game with about a minute to play. It was something he had planned to do from the start of the game. For the first time in Mitchell’s life that night Coach gave him a uniform and asked him to sit on the bench with the team. Mitchell is developmentally challenged but always wanted to play basketball. Because of Coach Morales, Mitchell would get his chance. Because of a rival player, Jonathan Montanez it was a moment no one there would ever forget.

   As the clock ran down Mitchell’s teammates kept passing him the ball wanting him to score a basket. Three times Mitchell missed badly. Finally with time running out and the Tigers with the ball on an inbounds pass, Jonathan would give Mitchell one more chance. He called out his name and passed the ball to the opposing player, Mitchell. He turned faced the basket and threw up an awkward shot. It went in and the buzzer sounded. What was the score? Coronado won by 15 points. Mitchell’s shot wasn’t a game changer but maybe Jonathan’s pass was a life changer. That night the team manager, who never played a game in his life was carried off by his team mates. His mom, Amy told CBS “I think I will cry about it the rest of my life. Jonathan will never know how much that moment meant to me and Mitchell”

   Jonathan would say later, “I was raised by my parents to treat others how I want to be treated. I just wanted to give him another chance.”

   Mitchell has his memory, his Mom has her tears of Joy, and we all have a real life lesson taught by a senior basketball player from El Paso. It’s a lesson on kindness, sportsmanship and on how to live out the golden rule.

Have a great week!                   Philip

 “Ask yourself what you want people to do for you, then grab the initiative and do it for them. Add up God's Law and Prophets and this is what you get.” Matthew 7:12 (msg)