I am writing to express my deepest appreciation to John Marshall High School Principal, Mr. Rick Jones, for his generous act of sportsmanship at the Wheeling Park vs. John Marshall Girls Basketball game in Marshall County recently.
Prior to the National Anthem, Mr. Jones spontaneously took the microphone to honor Wheeling Park's injured point guard, Marissa Tucker. As those who follow the Wheeling Park girl's team know, Marissa has missed the entire season due to a pre-season ACL tear which required orthopedic surgery and painstaking rehabilitation. Mr. Jones, a former Ohio County Schools principal who served as a volunteer assistant coach for the Lady Patriots last season, spoke of Marissa as a true team leader, an excellent student, and a young woman who is well-liked both on and off the court.
This story was recounted to me numerous times over the past few days, and I just wanted to express my gratitude to Mr. Jones and the John Marshall faithful. According to Wheeling Park football coach Chris Daugherty, there were many fans from both teams holding back tears while listening as Mr. Jones spoke of Marissa. The Wheeling Park fans and Marissa's family certainly know what a great kid she is, and she has a bright future playing basketball at Wheeling Jesuit University next year. As Marissa's uncle, I couldn't be more proud of how she has handled her adversity this season, and to see her recognized in this way meant a lot to me as well as the rest of her family.
Mr. Jones also stated, "Just because we're county rivals on the court, we should still be able to like each other off the court." We certainly love our sports in the Ohio Valley, and when it comes to our school teams, our local rivalries can be intense. Stories of true sportsmanship like this don't often end up on the editorial pages or on social media, but Mr. Jones' act of kindness and class deserves recognition for reminding us of what's most important. He has raised the bar on sportsmanship and continues to lead by example.
Jim Jorden, president
Ohio County Board of Education