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Irving Young's Mama Mia

Sports Check

Bay-Faith tilt more than a game

December 15, 2010 | 08:05 AM
Saturday's boys basketball game between Faith Christian and Williams Bay was special.

Although it was a classic battle on the court, it was what happened off the court that really stood out.

Fans from both sides took part in a "Gray Out." Gray T-shirts were sold for $10 apiece promoting the idea of "One Game, One Cause, One Community."

Earlier this year, a Faith Christian third-grader died of cancer. So Caila Learman, a student at Faith Christian, came to Williams Bay High School with an idea for a fundraiser to help fight the disease. And the fans at Saturday's game came up big.

The stands were full with everyone wearing the shirts. The game even attracted basketball players and families from Badger High School. In the cafeteria leading up to the gym, a large poster that said "One Game, One Cause, One Community" laid on the floor behind a table where the shirts were sold.

Inside the gym, it was standing room only, with many fans standing alongside the bleachers and even sitting against the west wall. The fans were loud and active, hooting and hollering at every little detail, whether it be a steal, basket or a foul.

And Faith Christian definitely emphasized the importance of the game throughout.

In the pre-game warmups, when players were announced, the lights were shut off. A spotlight illuminated each starter from both teams as they were announced. The Eagles even conjured up the old Chicago Bulls introduction, equipped with the music and some of the same catch phrases, like the "man in the middle" for center Ben Sass.

At halftime, Faith Christian Administrator Craig Skrede along with Learman and Williams Bay student council member Stephanie Tadje addressed the crowd and talked about the importance of the event. They thanked the fans who came out for their support of this serious matter.

It was an electric atmosphere for a high school basketball game. For one day, two teams who have formed a pretty strong rivalry were on the same side. It was about Williams Bay, not just Faith vs. Bay. The successful event proved that two schools can set aside differences for a greater cause.

On the floor, the action was just like it has been in the previous eight meetings between the teams — neck and neck. The Bay jumped out to a lead at halftime, but Faith battled back and pulled out the close victory in the end. You could tell that this game meant more to the players. From the opening tip, players from both teams gave it their all, diving for loose balls, showing extra hustle and leaving everything on the court.

More than any game on the regular season schedule, these guys wanted to win this game. They knew it meant bragging rights for a whole year unless they meet each other in the playoffs this year. For the next year, the Eagles can claim they are the best in the Bay for taking care of the Bulldogs. But that isn't the point.

These kids learned that some things in life are more important than a basketball game or a rivalry.

When two rival teams can join for one common cause, it proves these teams have learned the most important lesson in life — we're all in this together.

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