Thursday, August 8, 2013

Faith in Humanity Restored

Regular “What’s the Diehl?” readers know that I’m a sucker for this kind of stuff.

Today I’m talking about a high school basketball game that took place back in February in El Paso, Texas. A young man named Mitchell Marcus, a senior at Coronado High who had been team manager for the Coronado Thunderbirds for the past three years and has a developmental disability, was allowed to suit up for the last game of the season. Even better, Coach Peter Morales put him in the game with 90 seconds left. His teammates gave him a few chances to score – the crowd chanting, “Mitchell! Mitchell!” – but he wasn’t able to make the shot.

And then it gets good.

A kid named Jonathon Montanez, a senior at Franklin High School and a member of the opposing team who had possession, called Marcus’ name and tossed him the ball. Mitchell turned around, made his basket and the crowd went wild.

I don’t know why Jonathon did this. Even though nothing was on the line – the Thunderbirds were up by 10 points – you don’t aid the enemy. That’s being a traitor, right?

No, it’s not right. Regardless of the color of our jerseys or the name of our school, what side of town we come from, whether we’re home or away, we’re all people. Brothers and sisters. Jonathon did it, apparently, just because he’s a kind, sensitive, good human being.

I like being reminded that people are like this.

The video clip of this happy moment went viral (see below); the boys were subsequently treated to an NBA game as guests of Los Angeles Clippers star Chris Paul and appeared on Ellen DeGeneres' national talk show – during which Mitchell became emotional and Jonathan comforted him by patting his back – the following month. They were also honored by the Texas State Senate.

This may be cheesy and sentimental but that’s okay. I like cheesy and I’m not afraid to admit it. I don’t ever want to become so cynical that this kind of sportsmanship, this sweet gesture doesn’t bring a tear to my eye and a smile to my face.

"I was so happy then," Mitchell told local reporters about his shot. "It made my night."

Thank you, Jonathon and Mitchell, for making mine.

Sources: Huffington Post, the, CBS News.


  1. Matching your "cheesy" moment today - check this one out. Also a heart-tugger.
    Thanks for sharing a good story.

  2. As long as we get a few that bring a tear to your eye and a smile to your face- at the same time, we've still got hope left.