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2 Teen Athletes Show The World How Sportsmanship Works In Heartwarming Moment.

Image displays three panels depicting a cross country runner stopping to help another competitor in a show of sportsmanship.

According to the Merriam-Webster dictionary, sportsmanship is “conduct (such as fairness, respect for one’s opponent, and graciousness in winning or losing) becoming to one participating in a sport.” When we break it down, sportsmanship means just being nice, even to the opposing team. It means that when you win, you don’t gloat. When you lose, you don’t pout. Enjoy the competition for the competition.

The goal of almost every coach in any sport is to have a team of kids that exhibit good sportsmanship. It’s why opposing teams shake hands after a little league game or any other organized youth sport. While winning is always nice and coaches do strive to have winning teams, it isn’t everything. Winning or losing gracefully is an important life lesson for kids.

Image shows the starting line of a cross country race, with runners lined up and the starting official in the foreground.
Image from Wikimedia Commons.

Cross-country running is a popular sport in many US schools. Teams and individuals compete by running over outdoor courses under a variety of conditions. Runners are normally in their own frame of mind and not concerned with sportsmanship during any particular race. The scenery flies by as they run through parks, fields, open terrain, and limited woodland trails. The footing can be uncertain and the distance can vary depending on the level of the participating runners.

According to MasterClass, distances are based on the age and grade level of runners when laying out courses. In middle school, cross-country courses are usually around 2 kilometers or approximately 1.25 miles. In high school, the courses are about 5 kilometers or 3.1 miles. Once runners reach college-level competition, the distances increase.

Two images showing a runner stopping near the finish line to assist another runner who had fallen.
Images from Facebook.

Something amazing happened at the Neenah Cross Country Invitational, a high school-level competition in Wisconsin. Seppi Camilli from Marquette, Michigan, was pushing hard to cross the finish line to take second place. It had been a difficult race and his exhaustion level was high, but he was sprinting the final yards. He lost his footing and fell, unable to muster the strength to get up on his own and finish the race.

As Seppi fell, Cooper Erickson, a member of the opposing team, ran past him. The runners were mere feet from the finish line. Then something happened that no one expected. Cooper stopped running, turned around, and began helping Seppi to his feet. Within seconds, Cooper’s teammate, Ethan Olds, came to assist. The two teammates from Stevens Point Area Senior High School helped Seppi to his feet and assisted him as he wobbled across the finish line before collapsing again! What an awesome display of true sportsmanship!

Three images showing a series of events demonstrating sportsmanship. Two runners stop to assist a fallen runner from the opposing team.
Images from Facebook.

There is a video and we’ll get to that in a moment. We want to make sure to mention how truly spectacular this was. Two teammates who could finish second and third opted to help the opposing team take second place. That put Cooper and Ethan in third and fourth. That is a textbook example of sportsmanship in action. These two high school boys, their parents, and coaches should be proud of their actions in that race.

Watch this video, but you might need tissues on standby. The coach and parent in me welled up with pride watching these young men do something absolutely wonderful.

Our children are creating a legacy of warmth and caring. While the display of sportsmanship is nothing new in the sports world, it is always an incredible thing to watch. Our kids are growing up pretty awesome! Read more stories like this here, here, here, and here.

You can find the source of this story’s featured image here.

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