Sportsmanship on Display at X-Country Meet
At a cross-country meet in Wisconsin earlier this season, something unusual happened. With about a half-mile left in the race, Seppi Camilli, a runner from Marquette (MI) High School, made a bold move and broke free from several competitors from Stevens Point High School. With just the ‘straight-away’ left, he found himself alone in second place. However, with about 15 feet remaining in the race, Seppi stumbled and fell. Cooper Erickson, a sophomore at Stevens Point High School saw Seppi stumble. Instead of finishing, Cooper decided to help the fallen runner. Ethan Olds, a junior at Stevens Point High saw what was happening and he also stopped to help. Together, Cooper and Ethan helped Seppi to his feet and then assisted him to the finish line.
After the race, Cooper explained why he went back to help a competitor from another school: “I know our team has great respect for people that give their best efforts, and that’s what he did. He just came up 10 feet short, so I think we both just kind of felt like that he deserved to finish that one.”
Ethan chimed in: “I knew exactly what kind of situation he was in and just thought that it would be really nice to help him out. I hope that people can take away from this that being a good person will always be more valuable than being on a podium, or being on a results sheet.”
On a Facebook Post, a Stevens Point Administrator wrote: “The sportsmanship shows the character that we aspire for all of our athletes and many have it! That character will serve them (and us) well after they are done competing and living in our communities!”
Joe’s Perspective: No one would have faulted these runners if they had run right passed the fallen runner. After all, the goal of competition is to do your best and beat the other team. However, the purpose of high school sports is greater than beating your opponent. If we really believe the term, “educational athletics” has real value, then we believe sports is supposed to teach us valuable life lessons that we can apply to other areas of our lives. In this case, these Stevens Point runners teach us that there is something more important than winning. Terms like character, sportsmanship and kindness mean just as much.
Regardless of the sport you play, you might find yourself in a similar situation. When trying to decide what to do in that situation, remember the example set by these two runners and remember the cheers from the crowd who watched this selfless act. My guess is that these runners slept very well that night, knowing that they acted with such character at such an important moment.
Your Turn: If you were in the same position, would you run on by and finish or would you go back and help a competitor from another team?