Monday, October 25, 2010


When I was in high school, one focus of the sports curriculum was learning how to be sportsmanlike. It was easy to distinguish teams whose coaches rewarded classy behavior, as opposed to teams whose aim was to win at all costs. I never had a prayer (or, honestly, a desire) of qualifying for college-level sports, so I appreciated that, most of the time, my school wasn't on the cutthroat side of the equation.

Even now, when DH and I are watching an NFL game, for instance, we take note when an opposing player helps up the guy he just tackled. Our favorite sports matches are the historic rivalries that involve players who are all friends with each other, like the Packers-Bears game in Chicago a few weeks ago.

I think what makes the story of Zach Beckman's touchdown last weekend in a high school football game in Mount Vernon, Indiana, so nice is that the coaches of both teams involved, as well as the student-athletes on the field, saw an opportunity to give a real lesson about sportsmanship to the rest of the players, and then followed through with it. Or - and this seems more likely - they weren't even thinking about the lesson, they were thinking about the best thing to do.

If high school football was televised, I'd be rooting for Jasper High School all the way.

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Be nice, now.