Legendary baseball player Cal Ripken Jr. once said, “Sometimes I think sportsmanship is a little bit forgotten in place of the individual attention.”
That’s especially true these days as young athletes vie to make the game-winning play or to be the best in their chosen sport.
There’s certainly nothing wrong with that, but it’s important to remember that good sportsmanship is what really matters. A prime example of that was on display this month in Anchorage, Alaska, at a state high school boys’ cross-country running championship.
According to KTUU-TV, Colton Merriner and Geremu Daggett — both of the Grace Christian Grizzlies, an Anchorage school — were mere feet from the finish line of a grueling race when, tragically, Merriner took a nasty dive as his feet seemed to fail him.
Merriner tried to stand and keep moving but immediately realized something bad had happened that prevented him from going any farther. That’s when Daggett — his teammate who was inches from the finish line — quickly turned around to help the struggling Merriner regain his footing — enough to drag them both across the finish line in an incredible display of sportsmanship.
“I was pushing him, and then I started getting ahead, but I kept looking back just to make sure he was right next to me on that heel. And right before the finish I kept looking, so I saw him fall, and I’m like if I cross this finish line, I can’t go back and help my teammate,” Daggett said.
He added, “So I stopped right there and ran back and helped him up. In in the moment, I didn’t have time to think about rules or whatever, I just helped him up — well, more dragged him across the finish line.”
The moment when Merriner fell, prompting his teammate to help him, was captured on video.