By Kurt Johnson
Photos by Nicholas Runolfson & Shane Marshall
Picking the top anything of the year is never an easy proposition, and as we complete our third list of top Utah high school sports stories of the year for Preps Utah, we found that this list is no exception.
For the 2013-2014 school year, we released our Top 20 stories of the year, but this year, we have expanded our list to 25 stories, some of which combine multiple events that share common themes. Since the goal is not to be exactly right, as anything of this nature is entirely subjective, but to recognize as many of the great accomplishments of the student athletes across the state as we can, we hope you will understand.
Beginning July 13 and continuing for the next three weeks, we will release one or two items on our list per day, beginning with No. 25 and working our way up to story No. 1. Today, we announce No. 5.
#5 – The Making of Money
No. 5 on our list of top stories of the Utah high school sports year falls there not so much because of what happened on the field of play, but for what happened because of it.
Video of Spanish Fork quarterback Jason Money’s mistake on the football field went viral. It was seen everywhere as it hit the Internet moments after he dropped the ball on the field at Provo High in that Region 8 play-in game.
But that was only a small part of the story. The real story is what happened after the initial negative reaction, and in that aftermath is our No. 5 story of the year.
Before 24 hours had passed, national networks had picked up the video and a young man who was used to receiving positive press was suddenly thrust into the negative side of a media feeding frenzy. Money, however, leaned on his faith and his friends and turned what could have been a huge negative into a fantastic growth opportunity.
“It’s really given me a new perspective on things,” Money said, looking back at that October night. “Before, I knew it wasn’t all about sports and I knew it was only a game, but those relationships you have, it’s more about who you are than what you do and it really is so much more than the game. It’s about what you do off the field. I know it’s important what you do on the field, but the kind of person you are off and the kind of character that you have kind of shows through in those tough times.”
The Spanish Fork senior refused to direct any attention at the people who were looking to mock his situation, but he chose instead to focus his gaze on the thousands who didn’t care at all about the incident, but cared immensely about him as a young man.
“I found out there’s a lot of great people out there,” Money said. “There’s those that didn’t know, that’s granted, but everyone I knew was so nice, so supportive, so caring and that kind of person that I was trying to be all those years, they really were the best examples to me, the way the treated me and the way they cared for me those few weeks after the game.”
The Jason Money that emerged from that October evening is even more dedicated to being a positive influence in his community. He knows that relationships trump competition every time.
“Now, I’ve graduated and high school’s over,” Money said. “Those sports mean nothing, but if I see a kid at Macey’s who I was maybe a jerk to on the field, or maybe I did a dance over him when I was on the football field, it makes you feel uncomfortable and I’m sure it makes him feel the same way. Don’t hate your competitor, because who knows, one day you’re probably going to have a church calling with him or you’re going to be working for him, or who knows what’s going to happen. Don’t burn any bridges through sports because it’s not worth it.”
What happened to Jason Money is a top story because it hopefully helps us all take a second look at ourselves and the perspective we have when it comes to sports and life.
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