Some games end with everyone winning

Published 11:00 pm Saturday, March 14, 2009

Every March, NCAA basketball tournament fans start talking about the big dance and their teams’ earning that “One Shining Moment,” as the song plays in the background and the confetti falls from the rafters.

Thursday was a shining moment of equal magnitude for the men and women who participated in the Lawrence County Board of Mental Retardation and Developmental Disabilities’ 9th annual March Madness basketball event.

Each year, the board uses this event and others to raise awareness and illustrate the national MRDD theme, in this case “Just Like You.”

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And each year I always feel like such a winner for losing.

The event always showcases the Lawrence County Open Door School Jets against the Open Door School Alumni followed by the second game that features a team of employees from Tri-State Industries, Inc. vs. the “Media All-Stars,” a team comprised of representatives from local TV, radio and newspapers.

And trust me on this, the term “All-Stars” is used loosely, very loosely, in this case.

No one would mistake our team for an NBA squad, unless the “NBA” referred to stood for “Never Been Athletes” or “Not Beating Anyone.”

Sure, some of the team members may have some basketball experience and actual talent, but I don’t think any of us should quit our day jobs.

And none of that really makes much a difference in the end.

This was my seventh game. It was also my seventh loss.

It was also the seventh time that I got to witness the joy and passion these men and women get from playing — and winning — this game that is truly more than just that.

TSI scoring machine Herman Faulkner gets excited each year about taking down the media and dropping 25 or 30 points on us. His excitement rivals that of any college players who have hit game-winning shots.

Cheerleader Dorothy Martin makes sure to remind me that we always lose each year, always shaking her finger at me and telling me that the same fate awaits again.

Regardless of the outcome, the real trophy is seeing the ear-to-ear smiles the players have during and after the game.

I wouldn’t trade all the handshakes and hugs for anything.

The final score was Tri-State Industries 47, the Media 45. But sometimes, when it comes to the most important things in life, numbers can be wrong.

All those who participated were winners, no matter what the scoreboard showed.

Michael Caldwell is publisher of The Tribune. To reach him, call (740) 532-1445 ext. 24 or by e-mail at