Sportsmanship defined in a single football photo

Football fans in Rochester, New York are familiar with photos of Cory Gross, Jr.

A senior at Brockport High School, the 6’2 defensive back is among the area's top high school football players and will play for the Division 1 University at Buffalo next year. He often graces the newspaper and television news with his spectacular plays for the Brockport Blue Devils.

However, it was a photo on the Facebook page of a football-mom that recently caught my attention.

In the photo taken on Sept. 22, 2017 during Brockport’s game against the Greece Athena Trojans, Gross (#1) and teammate Dominic Passafiume (#52) are seen consoling an Athena wide receiver. Brockport had just won their homecoming game 19-13 in overtime after recovering a fumble by Athena (the defending champions in their football section).

“At the end of the game after the Athena player fumbled the ball and we won the game, these young men stepped away from the team celebration for just a moment to console the player who had fumbled the ball,” said Jean Rowley, the photographer and mom of Brockport player #67. “This was for sure a highlight for me! So many life lessons learned from sports.”

Indeed. This is sportsmanship at it’s absolute best. This is the beauty and unifying power of sports. This is football at its finest and in the hour when we need it most.

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