In 2012, during the next-to-the-last weekend of the NCAA basketball tournament, University of Louisville player Kevin Ware went down with a horrific injury, a compound fracture of the right leg. His team mates fell on the floor in horror. They cried and wrapped their arms around each other. Players from both teams said they nearly threw up. The crowd gasped and sobbed and turned away.
Except Luke Hancock. After a few motionless moments, he realized Kevin lay on the floor in pain and alone. Luke hurdled the courtside railing to reach and kneel next to Kevin, to hold his hand, and ask Kevin if he’d like to pray. He calmed Kevin and all who watched even as the medical team arrived and took over.
I’m still amazed at the maturity of Luke Hancock. Even at my advanced age, I doubt I’d have recognized the need of Kevin Ware and responded so quickly and so perfectly. The Cards won the NCCA championship the next weekend and Luke was named MVP of the Final Four, but that one moment made me respect Luke more than anything, that outpouring of kindness that defines him as a man.
Yes, kindness. One of my favorite verses of the Bible is from Micah: “What does the LORD require of you but to do justice, and to love kindness, and to walk humbly with your God?”
Now we’re hearing about hazing and racism in professional football. A player admits he made racists remarks against a young player as well as threatening horrifying acts toward family members of that player. Even worse, team members back up the bullying with the excuse that’s what happens in the testosterone-heavy atmosphere of pro-football and that’s how a real man acts. The player who left the team is being called a wimp, a pansy, and words I cannot (and would not) write here.
Is bullying ever acceptable? Do athletes need to toughen up rookies? I have a feeling I know how you’d answer. But in our society, which is more admired? I’m going with Luke Hancock.