(01/16/2006)
By Gaylen Duskey

realfang@citlink.net

This season has been a long hard season for the Calhoun High School basketball team. One win and 10 losses is not good and harks back to the days when Cecil Johnson coached the Red Devils to a perfect season - 0-21.

Friday night the Red Devils were coming off a huge win - 63-60 over a very good Wahama team - and looked at the light at the end of the tunnel as the light at the end of the tunnel. Unfortunately it was the train.

Gilmer County came into the game looking for its first win of the season. It got it 58-36 as the Titans rained down three-point goals (eight in all) as heavy as the warm January rain was falling outside the Calhoun High School gymnasium.

But the night, despite a Gilmer County sweep as the Titan high school team won the game and the reserve game and the Gilmer Middle School team swept two from the Red Devils, had some moments that were heart-rending and some moments of true class.

The heart-warming moment came in the reserve game when Calhoun's Travis Godfrey nailed a three-point shot near the end of the Red Devils' 48-28 loss.

When the shot went in the place erupted with cheers - some standing - for Godfrey.

Godfrey is probably the last man in the rotation for the Red Devils but that he is playing at all is a testament to the great courage he has shown.

Godfrey you see is in the process of recovering from a long bout with leukemia. In the small Calhoun community - and to a degree the Gilmer community - Godfrey's battle has been well chronicled.

The shot, the basket, was an emotional release for a community that had been rooting so hard for a courageous young man. The fans, probably more than the athlete himself, were more touched by the score. It was a balm in what has been a long, long year for the basketball team.

The touch of class came from the other side of the court in the varsity game.

Gilmer County, like Calhoun, has been struggling. The Titans were winless and had they wanted to let it rip at the end of the game it would have been understandable.

But that was not the case.

Instead Gilmer coach Steve Shuff decided to call off the dogs at about the four minute mark of the fourth quarter sending his entire second unit to the scorers' table to go into the game. But the clock never stopped - no fouls, no turnovers - and the Titans scored another basket.

When Calhoun missed a shot at the other end and Gilmer got the rebound Shuff jumped off the bench calling for a time out. He took a time out just to get his substitutes in the game. There was no sense in beating Calhoun any worse than it was and he had the good graces to show mercy.

Sitting at the press table I got his attention and gave him thumbs up sign.

He said thanks.

He played it with class.

It was a night with two really bad basketball teams playing each other in what turned out to be a one-sided game. But Travis Godfrey gave the community a lift and Steve Shuff showed that mercy is not strained.


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