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A Special Moment

A Special Moment

Generally speaking, the sports world is not a homogeneous spheroid. As the recently concluded Winter Olympic Games clearly demonstrated, some sports that excite a particular region of the globe are looked upon by others with a bit of curiosity or indifference. While the world of sports may differ, those who indulge in the same at one time or another, share a very common experience — sports produce special moments. Those moments are not the same for everyone, and indeed may be very personal in nature.

For me, this column is very personal. Please forgive the indulgence.

As the home of Little League Baseball, I have no idea how many fathers and mothers began a family involvement in sports by coaching their children as they began their youthful sports experience. If not baseball or softball, that coaching may have taken place in soccer, football, swimming, tennis or any of the other many sports activities available for kids. My father first coached me, and I did likewise for my daughter and son. For me, that formal coaching of my children stopped when they graduated from Little League, and they continued playing games under the tutelage of others.

Although it is happening locally with Craig Weaver and his two coaching sons, I also have no idea how many fathers/mothers may end up coaching against their own son/daughter in some sort of athletic competition. Looking down at the opponent’s bench and seeing the offspring you spent years nurturing and are now trying to defeat can be a little emotionally distracting. I don’t know how others who have shared this experience feel, but for me, it provided a very special moment I’ll certainly cherish.

The occasion wasn’t grand like the Olympics or a District championship game, but rather a four-team Junior High School end-of-the-season basketball tournament at South Williamsport. Originated under the leadership of Dwight Woodley decades ago, its purpose was to provide a fun-filled tournament experience for Junior High teams.

The existence of this year’s tournament faced potential cancellation when some teams were unable to finalize a commitment to join Montgomery, Muncy and South Williamsport in the tournament field. Knowing my son Doug was a coach at Big Spring High School in Newville; a call was placed to see if they may be interested in filling the final tournament spot. They responded in the affirmative and brought their seventh and eighth-grade teams for the weekend event.

Both Big Spring and my own South Williamsport Eighth Grade team won the opening games of the tournament setting up the championship encounter with son on one bench and Dad on the other. To add to the Lowery intrigue, my grandson Tucker was a guard for the visiting Bulldogs.

Ever since he was old enough to dribble a basketball, when Doug and his family were home for a visit the three of us would go to the gym to shoot hoops and enjoy the time together. Now, suddenly the realization was right there in front of me; my son was coaching against me, and my grandson was surely doing his best to beat my very own team on the same court where we spent so many hours. To make matters even more personal, Tucker showed up wearing a South Williamsport basketball sweatshirt that I had given him a few years back as a gift.

The championship game was both competitive and emotional, at least for the older coaching Lowery. It became quite personal when Tucker drained a three-point shot a mere five feet away from the coaching box where I was standing! Despite a valiant effort, my team lost, but the sportsmanship of the day was forever captured by a photo of Tucker, in his maroon and gold Big Spring uniform, posing with my blue and white clad Mounties for a most cherished team picture.

Adding to the homecoming was another photo of Doug and a former South Williamsport high school teammate, Scott Manning took with their sons after the game. Ironically, both Tucker and Ben Manning (a member of South Williamsport’s seventh-grade team) are guards, both wearing the number 3.

While sharing a post-game pizza, Tucker said to me, “Grandad, do you remember me telling you how happy I was when I hit that game-winning shot against Biglerville earlier this season?” Telling him I certainly did, he then responded, “Well, that three-point shot I hit today felt even better!”

I hate to lose, but that shot will always remain pretty special to me also.


Photo: Tucker Lowery and South Williamsport Eighth Grade Basketball team coached by Scott Lowery.

Pictured are: Front – Tucker Lowery & Ben Manning. Back – Doug Lowery, Scott Lowery, and Scott Manning.


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