Fallen athlete honored

December 05, 1997


Staff Writer

HEDGESVILLE, W.Va. - Chris May's parents and 12-year-old brother, Jason, walked across the basketball court to a standing ovation Friday night.

A crowd of more than 500 gathered at the Hedgesville Middle School gym to honor the 16-year-old boy killed in a hit-and-run accident on the night of Sept. 24 outside of Shepherdstown, W.Va.

May's jersey was retired in a pregame ceremony and his teammates wore his No. 20 on a patch on their uniforms. Before Faith Christian's game with Broadfording Christian Academy, the team also gave his parents a basketball listing the games he played in and the points he had scored in them.


"He was a better person than he was a basketball player and he was a great basketball player," said Faith Christian Academy basketball coach George Nunn.

"There's a lot of emotion leading up to this event," Nunn said.

Chris May was a basketball and soccer standout at Faith Christian Academy and in lieu of flowers his parents had asked for donations to be made to the school.

Deborah Helman, director of development at Faith Christian Academy, said about $4,350 has been collected in the Chris May Memorial Fund and that when enough money is raised, the school will build the Chris May Memorial Gym. Friday's game was played at the middle school because Faith Christian has no gym.

Instead of tears during the emotional ceremony, the family and friends exchanged smiles and hugs, saying their Christian faith leads them to believe that Chris May is in heaven.

Faith Christian Academy has 227 students, including 65 in the high school.

"This is going to be hard for the players tonight," Helman said.

James Sprinkle, 14, a freshman, said that when he started at Faith Christian Academy three years ago, Chris May was one of the first people to approach him and become friends with him.

"He was one of the most encouraging basketball players I've ever seen, encouraging me that I could hit the shot," Sprinkle said.

"It was so hard losing him," Sprinkle said.

Justin Painter, 17, a senior, said that Chris May was an unselfish player even though he had an outstanding outside shot himself.

"When I was on the court he'd always give me the ball. I think we'll come out pretty fired up for Chris," Painter said.

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