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HAMMOCK: Wesleyan senior makes the right call

We've all watched the Values.com basketball commercial about sportsmanship, the one that has popped up frequently during sporting events the past few years.

You know the one. Alex admits to his coach in the huddle that he touched the ball before it went out of bounds. His teammates then get onto him, "Come on, Alex, the ref didn't call that" and "You've got to be kidding me, Alex."

The coach then tells Alex that he made a good call, promoting the values of good sportsmanship.

Most of us assume things like that don't happen in real life, only in idealistic commercials.

Think again.

Everyone in attendance at Wesleyan's Class AA/A second-round playoff volleyball match with Savannah Country Day got to see it firsthand. The Wolves lost two of the first three games and trailed 16-13 in the fourth game when they picked up a critical point.

At least until senior Alana Broe called herself out by admitting to the match official that she was in the net. It cost her team a point, but she never hesitated.

"It was not an easy call to make, but I really didn't think twice about it," said Broe, who ranks in Wesleyan's top 10 academically with a 3.94 GPA and plans to pursue a college path in pre-med. "What's right is right. I wouldn't have wanted that win if we didn't get it the right way. It's something our program has instilled in me."

Wesleyan has called similar wrongs on itself for years, a tradition that started long ago in its volleyball program and has been passed down from class to class. Head coach Ted Russell said the show of sportsmanship happens fairly regularly, mostly on touches off the hand, since even the best match officials aren't perfect.

It just rarely happens in pressure-packed matches like it did against Savannah Country Day. The story even had a happy ending -- the Wolves rallied to win the fourth and fifth games to take the match.

Afterward, several Savannah Country Day parents approached Russell to commend him for Broe's call and others sent emails of praise.

"I don't know that it's ever happened in that stressful of a situation, you're down in the fourth game and down two games to one," Russell said. "I just called timeout and told her I was proud of her and that it's times like that when true character is revealed."

In a time when so many players and teams are in win-at-all-costs mode, it's refreshing to see a player and a team with that kind of sportsmanship.

That's one area where real life differs from the commercial. Broe's teammates backed her decision up.

"They were so supportive of me," Broe said. "They were all very proud of the choice I made."

With good reason.

Will Hammock can be reached via email at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His column appears on Thursday. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock.