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This basketball game brought out the very best in our community

Posted: Sunday, January 21, 2007

Sometimes this county makes me proud.

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Of course, Columbia County is far from perfect. We've had our share of scandals, blunders and goofs, but every once in a while, I'm reminded of how good people can be.

The most recent example took place last Tuesday at the Evans High School gym. Seniors Matt Clark and Wes Wuchte, as part of their senior projects, held a charity basketball game to raise money for the American Cancer Society.

A week before the game, Wuchte threw out a ballpark estimate of what he hoped the game would bring in.

"I've raised about $697 so far, and my goal is to bring in about a thousand," he said.

He underestimated the charitable nature of the folks in Columbia County.

After a game filled with fun, competition and one tired sportswriter, Wuchte announced the final amount raised: a little more than $2,800.

"We might make it to $3,000 by the time everything comes in," Wuchte said. "I never thought we'd get this much."

The event attracted nearly 200 people. Coming in to it, I wasn't confident enough to guarantee a made basket. My wife later told me I had scored 11 points, though. I remember two of those baskets, but after six or seven trips up and down the floor, things had begun to get a little fuzzy.

In the end, the winner was Wuchte's Blue Team, led by former University of Georgia star Jody Patton and former Evans basketball parent Ronnie Manuel.

The team I was on, Clark's Yellow Team, came in second place.

But who's keeping score? We all know the real winner was the American Cancer Society.

Although this donation might not directly affect the entire county, it hits close to home for my family.

My wife has been battling liver cancer the past two years and is enduring a nine-week chemotherapy cycle, including a full day of treatment last Tuesday, the day of the charity basketball game - and her birthday.

Wuchte and Clark didn't know about my wife when they came up with the idea for a charity basketball game last summer, and their actions probably won't directly change our situation. Their efforts will surely help the fight, though.

I don't know who will be grading these two senior projects, but my wife and I give both boys an A-plus.



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