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Youth Sports Heroes of the Month: James Whitney and Kyle Christopher (Allegany, New York)

It was only the second inning, but the Allegany-Limestone High School Gators varsity baseball team was already losing big. Apparently angered that the Wellsville High School Lions had bunted with a 6-0 lead, the Gators' coach went to the mound and instructed his pitcher, James Whitney, to hit the next batter, Sawyer Korb. Worse yet, the coach reportedly told Whitney to throw at Korb's head.
Whitney refused, dropped the ball on the mound, and sprinted to the dugout. Gators relief pitcher Kyle Christopher also refused the coach's command to bean Korb, who struck out on the next pitch.  For demonstrating the courage of their values in the face of their coach's command, James Whitney and Kyle Christopher are Doug Abrams's youth sports heroes for the month of May.

Youth Sports Heroes of the Month

In 1989, Spike Lee earned an Academy Award nomination for his drama, "Do the Right Thing."  As Douglas E. Abrams writes in this month's installment of his series, Youth Sports Heroes, more than 20 years later, the command perfectly describes the noble split-second decisions made by three pairs of high school athletes and their coaches who set a standard of sportsmanship in following their best instincts to do what was right. 


Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Reid Paswall (Somers, New York)

Varsity wrestler Reid Paswall had an idea. In November 2009, with the team's opening match only days away, he approached the Somers (NY) High School athletic director to suggest that the captains for the opener be two classmates who were not even team members. The two -- Adam Stein and Matthew Moriarty -- were special-needs students with Down syndrome. "I thought," Paswall  (in red singlet in photo) told the athletic director, "that we can have our special-needs kids go out and shake the other team's captain's hands, and . . . represent Somers."

Youth Sports Hero of the Month: Ann McClamrock (North Dallas, Texas)

On October 17, 1973, John McClamrock, a 17-year old junior at Hillcrest High School in Dallas, Texas broke his neck making a tackle.  Though her son was paralyzed from the neck down, unable to lie with his head elevated off a flat bed, or even sit in a wheel chair, his mother, Ann McClamrock, rejected suggestions that the family place him in a nursing home or other institution for quadriplegia victims. Instead she brought her son home and devoted the rest of her life to his daily care in his own bedroom.  Ann's greatest wish was that she would live at least one day longer than John so that he would never be without her care. 
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