When rivals collide, it’s common for sportsmanship to take a back seat as each team is willing to do whatever it takes to call itself the champ.
In the heavily anticipated match-up between Ellis County powerhouse volleyball teams Waxahachie and Midlothian on Monday the rivalry was there, but so was one of the strongest displays of sportsmanship that can be seen before and after a game.
With Waxahachie hosting the match the Midlothian Lady Panthers stunned the large crowd when they walked into the gym wearing T-shirts that supported injured Lady Indian Tori Bingham, just as the Lady Indians were doing.
Both teams did all they could to win during the match with Waxahachie winning in four, but the sportsmanship continued afterthe game as several members for both teams ate at Chick-fil-A because the proceeds from select purchases helped benefit the Bingham family.
“Sometimes there is something bigger than the game itself. This was such an occasion,” Midlothian head coach Rhonda Currey said. “Jaci (Browning), Morgan (Mobley), Lexa (Corbin) and Caitlin (Paschall) are four players that played with Tori on their club team this summer and have been in prayer for her since the day of the accident. The girls wanted to do something special to show their support for Tori and they wanted it to happen at the Waxahachie game. We have no bigger rival than Waxahachie and the game between us is always intense. Monday was no different once the whistle blew to start the game, each team giving it all to walk off that court in victory. It was before and after the game that showed the compassion and love these kids share for each other.”
Both teams had the match circled on their calendar since spring practices but when Bingham was severely injured in a vehicle rollover on July 28 the game took on an added meaning.
“Weeks before our match the senior girls decided they wanted to show their support for Tori by making shirts for the team to wear with Tori’s name and number on it. Each senior also chose this game to be one of the games they would decorate mini-balls to be given to coach Faussett to give to Tori,” Currey said. “After the game, the girls wanted to stop and eat at Chick-fil-A, where the proceeds for that night would benefit Tori. I could not be more proud of my team for seeing the bigger picture and realizing that it is not just about the X’s and O’s, but about character and impacting the lives of others. That’s just good stuff.”
Several players on Midlothian and Waxahachie play select volleyball with the Ellis County Juniors where Bingham was a member creating a bond in the rivalry.
“Rhonda really encourages her team to have compassion on other players and it was just a class act. The one word that came to my mind was class. For a team and community to show that much compassion for one of our players was phenomenal,” Waxahachie coach Sandy Faussett-Stoops said.
Waxahachie libero Lacie Tucker has played for both programs and was touched by the show of support from her former team.
“We are such good friends, even outside the rivalry. We play club together and we care so much about each other. I love that they came over wearing the shirts, it means so much to all of us,” Tucker said. “I did not expect them to wear the shirts, but we are really close to a lot of players on their team and they have even been up to the hospital with us.”
Waxahachie and Midlot–hian will always be a rivalry game, but on one night, it was more than just a game.