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North Chicago made right call on tough call

Waukegan-02/01/13 Fri./Waukegan High School Students pre-game phofor Pink Out Waukegan High School. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

Waukegan-02/01/13, Fri./Waukegan High School Students in a pre-game photo for the Pink Out at Waukegan High School. | Joe Shuman~For Sun-Times Media

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SHOOTING AN ERROR BALL

Followed Jewell Loyd’s girls basketball career at Niles West, and she always seemed like a “me first” type of player. Great player, but “me first always.”

The prediction was that she’s never fit in with the team-first concept at the University of Notre Dame.

So what happened in this, her freshman season, at South Bend? Jewell Loyd is the consummate team player, a starter, fourth-leading scorer and a key cog in a team that will contend for the national championship.

Notre Dame’s loss this year was to defending national champion Baylor.

TIP OF THE CAP TO WAUKEGAN HIGH’S BULLDOGS

You’re reading words written by someone who wouldn’t stand out in a crowd, even if it was a “crowd” of two.

The hat that covers this head of gray hair, however, is a completely different story.

It’s pink ... worn during the winter to remind that breast-cancer awareness month is every month and not just October.

Older sister lost a battle to breast cancer, but she’s now in Year 14 of winning the war, and the pink hat reminds that the war never ends.

All of this is a way of explaining why we’re such big supporters here of high school kids to rally to a cause. Every little bit counts.

Recently, Waukegan High School held its “Pink-Out” event, and here’s how it wound up, according to them:

“The Great Waukegan Pink-Out had its most successful year ever, raising more than $8,000 for Coaches vs. Cancer, a program affiliated with the American Cancer Society.

“The group’s success was evident at the Pink-Out game on Feb. 1, where hundreds of fans in pink T-shirts were on hand to watch Waukegan High School take on New Trier High School in a boy’s varsity basketball game.

“Prior to the game, student-athletes from WHS and New Trier posed for a photo in their commemorative pink shirts. They were joined by event organizers, including Waukegan Mayor Robert Sabonjian, who declared Feb. 1 “Great Waukegan Pink-Out Day” throughout the City of Waukegan.

“A day prior, WHS students participated in a special pep rally with students from the Special Education District of Lake County in Gages Lake.

“We’re thrilled with the support we received from the community and from the school district,” said Jane Ferry, co-chair of the Great Waukegan Pink-Out. “We really could not have done this without all of the help from the many volunteers in the schools.”

Updated: March 14, 2013 6:22AM



In this corner of the world, the phrase that fits this situation is “parallel play.”

That is, two events that seem to be connected but which, in reality, aren’t connected at all.

A good example is the situation involving Notre Dame’s hapless linebacker Mantei T’ao.

First, we found out he was a chump regarding his online “girlfriend” during the week before the Irish played Alabama in college football’s championship game.

Then, the same Mantei T’ao got pushed around in the game by Alabama players like he was a rag doll — or an online girl friend, if your prefer.

That led to Conclusion “C”: Mantei T’ao’s play in the championship game was affected by the online girlfriend stuff.”

As in, “A” caused “B” and led to “C.”

Which wasn’t so. The truth is that every Notre Dame player was pushed around by Alabama, and Mantei was no better or worse than the other stars on the team who were exposed as nothing-special players by a truly great team.

Now, fast-forward to North Chicago High School’s boys basketball team.

Five players were suspended two weeks ago for a violation of the school’s athletic policy.

Three were originally going to be suspended for four games and given the opportunity to return for the March Madness playoffs. And the other two — the two best players out of the five — were, in effect, suspended for the rest of the season with no chance to return.

Then, North Chicago’s basketball team went out and played two games without the five players — losing one and struggling mightily in the other.

Next came the announcement that four of the five will return after missing those two games, and the fifth will have the opportunity to earn the right to return for the March Madness playoffs.

So, did “A” cause “B” and lead to “C” at North Chicago?

NOT A CHANCE.

The decision to revisit the situation actually had been made well before the basketball team took the floor and lost at Lakes.

More information on the situation came to light, and in the end, all agreed that what was best for the five young men involved was the amended penalty, so to speak.

This was not about basketball at all. It was all about being fair to the students, and giving them an opportunity to continue to grow as young men and as student-athletes.

Trust on this: The things the five suspended basketball players have agreed to do and abide by will have way more of a positive impact on their lives than anything they do on the basketball court in the next month.

No school in the area cares more about its students than North Chicago.

The graduation rates and SAT scores may be at the bottom of the pack, but the caring and effort is right there at the top.

In this corner of the world, we praise the North Chicago administration for making outstanding choices, and teaching the five players important lessons in the process.

That said, don’t be shocked if Lakes High School gives North Chicago some serious trouble in the March Madness playoffs.



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