But in the Final Four game between Duke and West Virginia at the NCAA tournament Saturday night, the scene I’ll never forget involved West Virginia’s head coach Bob Huggins and his star player, Da’Sean Butler.
Butler had just collided with Duke’s Brian Zoubek, collapsing to the court and grabbing his knee. Coach Huggins immediately rushed onto the court when he saw Butler writhing in pain.
The coach knelt over his beloved player, his face just inches away, and cradled Butler’s head in his hands. We couldn’t hear their exchange, but Huggins’ own face and body language told the story.
He was trying to console this outstanding young man, distraught that he wouldn’t be able to finish the game and help bring his team out of their double-digit deficit.
Time seemed to stand still for the coach, as he focused exclusively on comforting Butler. Huggins never moved his eyes from the player’s face as he tenderly stroked his face and spoke encouraging words to him.
The bond between player and coach was palpable, and my eyes filled with tears as I witnessed this amazing display of compassion. Bob Huggins wasn’t concerned about what the people in that arena thought. In that instant his sole purpose was to help this player get through one of the most difficult moments of his young life.
We all have the opportunity to show compassion and make that kind of difference. But we often miss these chances because our focus is on ourselves…or we simply don’t choose to make the effort.
Next time you see someone in obvious pain, think of Bob Huggins and give your undivided attention to helping that person get through the difficulty. Your act of kindness could make a difference that lasts a lifetime.