Last Sunday evening, the Louisville Cardinals matched up against the Missouri Tigers in a post season regional baseball game in Columbia, Missouri. With the score tied at 2-2 in the late innings, the Louisville third baseman came to bat with a runner on base, and hit a towering home run over the left field wall to give the Louisville team a 4-2 lead.
As the ball cleared the fence, this Louisville player, who will remain nameless, did not proceed to round the bases. He stood and admired his homer, turned and taunted the Missouri catcher, then began shouting and taunting the Missouri dugout. Only after this did this Louisville player saunter around the bases -- in fact, the runner that scored ahead of him had almost reached home plate by the time this Louisville player got to first base. Finally, after his lengthy home run trot, he touched home plate and again made gestures at the Missouri players.
After the inning, things calmed down a little bit, and the Louisville team took the field. However, the Louisville third baseman took up where he left off, and again began shouting at the Missouri bench. Emotions ran high, and things were almost out of control. But the umpires and coaches for both teams intervened, and play was resumed.
With Missouri now trailing 4-2 in the bottom of the ninth inning of this critical game, Sikeston's own Jacob Priday hit a home run of his own to bring Missouri to within a run.
As Priday's homer cleared the fence, he merely put his head down and rounded the bases. As he passed the Louisville third baseman, Priday said nothing and did not even acknowledge the Louisville player. There was no woofing nor was there any taunting on Priday's part.
Missouri ultimately lost this game, 4-3. However, the class and sportsmanship exhibited by Priday after his hit should make everyone of us proud of this young man. Priday had every opportunity to shout and taunt the opposing team, but chose not to.
Sports don't necessarily build character, but they certainly do reveal it.