Rivalries run deep. But that doesn’t mean you forget what it means to be a person underneath that jersey. When a Newton County high school baseball player hugged the opposing team’s pitcher in his first game back after his father had passed away, he showed what true sportsmanship looks like.
According to HotTopics.TV, the Eastside High School Eagles played a home game earlier in the season, and the father of pitcher Michael Hipps Jr. suffered a medical emergency while he was cheering his son on at the game. Later, he passed away.
When Hipps returned to the mound for the first time after his dad’s death, his team was playing their rival school’s team, Henry County High.
As it came time for the opening pitch to be thrown by Hipps, the shortstop for Henry County High, Jovaal Hollingshed, walked toward the pitcher’s mound. Hollingshed then gave Hipps a handshake and a hug before the game proceeded.
Newton County School District posted about the event on Facebook, writing, “NCSS would like to salute Henry County High School senior, Jovaal Hollingshed, who showed true class last night at the Eastside vs Henry County baseball game…We salute you, Jovaal Hollingshed. Class act, young man. Class act.”
The post garnered over 2,000 reactions and 793 shares online, and sports fans weren’t shy about sounding off in the comments section.
One commenter wrote, “My thoughts are with the young man and his family that lost his father. To the young man that embraced him, may you continue to keep that wonderful spirit.”
In the end, both high schoolers showed what it means to be part of a team. Hipps experienced something extremely difficult and yet still managed to show up to the game. Meanwhile, Hollingshed proved that even though he was on the opposing team, he was in support of Hipps.