Sportsmanship on display at Berry in basketball gesture

What can only be described as a wonderful display of sportsmanship took place recently at the Northern Michigan University Wildcats women’s basketball game with Northwood University.

Outwardly, the Saturday occurrence at the Berry Events Center might have been a bit difficult to detect to the casual observer.

NMU standout Taylor Hodell won the opening tip, knocking the ball back to teammate Chloe Tompkins.

A Mining Journal story detailed that Northwood let Hodell win the tip back to Tompkins, who then immediately checked out of the game and walked back toward the NMU bench to a big round of applause from the crowd and a waiting Coach Troy Mattson, who traded a big hug with Tompkins before returning to the bench.

What was it all about? That brief appearance by Tompkins was her first since sustaining a catastrophic knee injury about two years ago. She has remained with the team since then, providing leadership and guidance from the bench.

Mattson wanted to give Tompkins a fitting ending to her career at the Berry Events Center, which held Senior Day ceremonies on Saturday, the Journal story stated. Tompkins said Mattson, along with her teammates and family, meant a lot to her throughout her long recovery journey.

“Throughout this whole thing, it’s been really hard for not only me, but it’s been just as hard for my mom and dad,” she said. “Everything their daughter goes through, they go through, too.”

We applaud all who had a hand in this wonderful gesture, including the folks from Northwood University.

It was a fitting end to an outstanding basketball career that took a very unexpected turn.