As the grumpiest member of the Big 12 Conference office staff, Your Humble Correspondent has no trouble finding reasons to be grumpy. YHC is happy to report, though, that recent events of exemplary sportsmanship produced a smile.
Sunday at Riviera Country Club near Los Angeles, Alabama and Texas battled to win the NCAA men's golf championship. Each school put five outstanding golfers on the course and for four hours the matches produced drama and clutch shots.
Fittingly, the outcome depended on the top two golfers on each team - senior Dylan Frittelli for UT and sophomore Cory Whitsett for Alabama. They teed off on 18 all square but Frittelli reached the green in two while Whitsett faced a delicate chip shot. He tried a flop shot but whiffed (YHC can relate).
After chipping within a few feet and needing a putt for a bogey, Whitsett could only watch as Frittelli needed two putts to win and clinch the title for Texas. The Longhorn drained a 30-footer for birdie, setting off a burnt-orange colored celebration.
As the Texas players celebrated, Whitsett retrieved Frittelli's ball from the cup, walked to his opponent, handed him the ball and shook hands.
Now that is sportsmanship.
After missing a shot that conceivably cost his team the national championship, Whitsett could have simply watched the Longhorns celebrate. Instead, he congratulated his opponent and made sure he had a memento of the event.
Whitsett's gesture was preceded by similar good will from UT's Toni Hakula. He appeared about to defeat Alabama's Bobby Wyatt - a victory that would have rendered the Frittelli-Whitsett match moot. But Alabama's Bobby Wyatt chipped in from off the green for a match-clinching birdie. The video of Hakula congratulating the 'Bama player translates into: "Congratulations on a great shot."
This second sportsmanship story has no connection to the Big 12. But it's worth reading because it affirms the idea of doing the right thing and it's about an Ohio distance runner who is a junior in high school. A YHC salute to Meghan Vogel. (Click on the link to see the short video of her heroic gesture; it's worth it.)