Sparks (or not)
Emitted from the fire, their tiny illumination endures for the briefest of moments…then, they are gone

The Master and the Disciple

Something about this seemingly ordinary photograph caught my attention. The subjects are the legendary basketball coach Nolan Richardson and disgraced former sprint sensation, Marion Jones.

Richardson has followed along a path of success as a coach at Tulsa University, the University of Arkansas and presently, the Tulsa Shock, a new women’s professional basketball franchise.

Banned forever from Track and Field, Jones is trying to make a new start in life, returning to a former discipline in which she once  excelled.  She played point guard on the University of North Carolina basketball team which won the national title –  before she achieved her real fame in the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney.

She asked Nolan for a tryout.

Knowing this little bit of background gives the photo so much more meaning to me.

There is a certain comfort level, at least on the part of Jones, allowing her to sit casually at Richardson’s feet. The teacher seems to be stressing a point, using his index finger for emphasis. He has the student’s rapt attention.

One can almost see the contrition on the face of Jones, having been sufficiently humbled by her former acts of cheating – and then lying.

Obviously, it’s  a private moment between the two and the camera embarrassingly makes  the viewer  feel as an intruder.

Still, the look on Jones’ face conveys remorse… and I find I want to give her another chance.

I hope the workout went well and Jones is invited back.

Funny…all the things captured in a frozen visual moment in time.

~ * ~

Update: (3/11/10)  Apparently coach Richardson liked Jones’ workout. She was just signed to a contract with the Shock.

Update: (8/29/10) Though the Shock finished the season in last place, Jones is firmly entrenched in her second-chance career.

Update: (!0/25/10) Jones’ book and a documentary are due out this week.

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