The Gainesville State School of Gainesville, Texas is a juvenile corrections facility for young, felony-offenders. However, if students exhibit good behavior, they can play organized basketball as if they were normal high school students, reported CBS News.

They’re at a major disadvantage when they play, though. Since it’s a correctional center, the school has no student fans who can attend games. Gainesville players experienced a change when they played the Vanguard College Prep school from Waco, Texas.

Players from Gainesville said “usually our fan base was close to zero,” and one player said his “parents came to one game but they didn’t come to the other ones because they didn’t have time.”

Vanguard players Hudson Bradley and Ben Martinson decided to change that for their matchup against the Gainesville Tornadoes. Martinson said “no one likes playing in an empty gym.” Bradley added that playing against a team with virtually no fanbase “doesn’t seem right.”

Together, Bradley and Martinson rallied support from their own fanbase to cheer for the Gainesville players during their game in Waco. The Tornadoes didn’t expect what was going to happen but were surprised when they saw lots of people wearing the Gainesville team colors and holding up fan signs.

“I mean every time they scored the gym was just lit up with cheering and clapping and everyone was on their feet,” said Bradley. “I think in a way this is kind of how sports should be. It just kind of showed me the real impact that encouragement and support for anybody can make.”

The gesture certainly made an impact on the Gainesville players as some said that they will probably carry that game with them for the rest of their lives. One player said “when I’m an old man I’ll still be thinking about this.”

This gesture by the Vanguard team is the very definition of class and sportsmanship. If a couple of high school kids can be this gracious, then certainly adults in government can do the same thing. However, the cranky old people in government just throw fits like toddlers.

Click here to watch the CBS video report.


Richard Eskow is host and managing editor of The Zero Hour, a weekly radio program produced by We Act Radio. He was the senior writer and editor for the Bernie Sanders presidential campaign. Richard has written for a number of print and online publications, was a founding contributor to the Huffington Post, and is a longtime activist. He is also a Senior Fellow with the Campaign for America’s Future.