In life, some games end with both sides as winners

Published 12:00 am Thursday, March 17, 2005

Many people believe that winning is everything. I can assure you that those people have never played in the annual March Madness Mental Retardation Developmental Disabilities basketball game.

It has become a March ritual around here to lace up the sneakers and play some hoops. On Monday the rivalry - if you can call a match-up where one sided, the media, always loses - resumed.

After the opener between the Open Door School Jets and the Open Door Alumni team, the hardwood exhibition pitted the Tri-State Industries team against the Media All-Stars.

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Believe me, the term "all-stars" is used loosely. Very loosely.

The men and women from Tri-State Industries prepare for weeks to face the over-weight, over-worked and over-the-hill members of the region's newspaper, television and radio stations.

This year's participants included yours truly and fellow Tribune employees Michael Faulkner, Bo Elliott and Marty Fraley. The rest of the lineup featured former Tribune photographer Howie McCormick, representatives from WTCR, B97.1, WSAZ Newschannel 3, WOWK and more.

It may sound like an uneven matchup. And it was. The TSI team has mopped the floor with our butts for four years running, the past three of which I have been on the losing end of some humbling losses

In a blowout that was so embarrassing that I have blocked it from my mind, the TSI team gave us a whipping on Monday. Not even former West Virginia University star Judy Eaton or WSAZ sports broadcaster Jim Treacy could stop the damage.

My meager 4 points and two assists were far exceeded by my turnovers and bone-head plays. So, am I bitter? Not in the least.

Though I am a competitor to the core and try to give 110 percent in all that I do to come out on top, I have to tell you, losing never felt so good.

When you see the hard work these men and women from TSI invest into their team, it nearly leaves you speechless. With every made basket that swished, their eyes light up and the high-fives get ever more enthusiastic. If you want to see what pure joy looks like just attend one of these events.

Long after the final score fades from memory, the joy and satisfaction they received will live on in their hearts and their souls.

In this game, numbers such as rebounds and points are irrelevant. The true stats, the ones that really matter, are measured in smiles and hugs received.

In those categories, each and every one of us were winners.

Michael Caldwell is managing editor at The Ironton Tribune. To contact Mike, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at