After a basketball team loses, sportsmanship wins

Another entry in our “tournament time is the best time” series:

In Fargo, N.D., Oak Grove Lutheran School junior guard Tommy Conmy packed bottles of sparkling cider to celebrate after his team’s North Dakota Class B, Region 1 boys basketball title game. It was a good plan; the school has won six of the last nine championships.

His team lost to Wyndmere-Lidgerwood 74-to-67, the Fargo Forum says.

So young Conmy took the (non-alcoholic) cider and placed it outside the locker room of the team that had just vanquished his. Somebody might as well get to celebrate.

The Warbirds came storming into the locker room, each grabbing a bottle. They tried to spray it in the shower to not make a mess, but couldn’t figure it out. As W-L head coach Todd Hosford entered the locker room, he stopped dead in his tracks because his kids were drinking out of bottles.

“The kids immediately told me it was just sparkling cider and to not worry,” Hosford said, sounding relieved even 13 days later. “They thought I had put it there. No one knew that night who put it there.”

Hosford found out that weekend it was Conmy who left the gift.

“They could have dumped it out or broke the bottles somewhere,” Hosford said. “It takes a lot to do something like that. It shows maturity and it shows he knows how to win and how to lose. It wasn’t something many kids would do.”

“It was like a Super Bowl parade,” the winning coach said. “I let them enjoy it. A lot of people don’t have the nicest things to say about Oak Grove. I told my team that it’s not all negative and they are just like you guys. It was definitely a learning experience. They learned there’s good kids out there that mean well.”

“We have some pretty great kids,” the losing coach said.