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Thursday, Aug. 21, 2014

Johnson: Player's salute to mother makes a point

Friday, March 11, 2011

As basketball season has come to an end for all of our local teams, there's one last basketball story I'd like to share.

Last night I came across a sports story on the internet that really touched my heart and is a perfect example of what's good about the student athlete.

In a day and time when we here so many negative stories about student athletes, what a refreshing twist this story is to that thought!

Brad Rhoades, a freshman on the junior varsity basketball team at Pembroke Academy in New Hampshire, was playing in his last game of the season just two days after his mother was killed in a snowmobile accident.

That fact that he wanted to play in a game in such a short time after the death of his mother is not the amazing part of the story, even though it might be unthinkable for some of us to understand.

What's eye-catching about this story was the fact that he wanted to score a point for every year his 46-year-old mother lived.

After scoring 27 points in the first half, his dream became a reality when he scored his 46th point with two minutes left to play in the game.

He told his coach and teammates what he wanted to do when they returned to the court after halftime and Rhoades admitted that his teammates supported his challenge by giving him the ball on the offensive end of the court.

As soon as he scored that miracle basket he ran over to his father who always stood by the stands and leaped into his arms. Shortly after the entire gym, including fans from both teams were giving the family a standing ovation.

The story doesn't end there.

Rhoades' inspiring tribute did more than just leave a lasting memorial for his mother, it also inspired a family acquaintance to start a unique college fund for him and his sister.

John Clarke, the athletic director at Plymouth State University, is asking those who come across the story to donate $46 ($1 for each year of Kristin Rhoades' life) to the Rhoades Family College Fund, which has been set up.

Contributions can be sent to Anheuser-Busch Employee Credit Union, 3 Mound Court, Suite 3A, Merrimack, NH, 03054-4412.

Over the past 25 years I've seen and covered countless basketball games and this is one game I wish I could have seen first hand.

-- Gary Johnson is a Times-Gazette sports writer.

Gary Johnson
Point by Point