AUTHOR: Carolyn Savage | POSTED: June 7, 2011 | COMMENTS: None Yet - Post a Comment
The following is a story that Drew wrote for submission to an essay contest in 2009 that asked students to write about an adult that had made a courageous decision that impacted their lives. Drew won the essay contest by recalling an event that I had virtually forgotten about but taught him a great lesson in sportsmanship. I wanted to share it as a simple reminder that children are always watching….even when we don’t realize it. Our actions and decisions do impact them!
by Drew Savage
During the summer before fifth grade our baseball team was going into the championship tournament with a losing record and we were seeded pretty low in the brackets. Our coach was optimistic, as he always was, but I think it was pretty safe to say that our team was a little more realistic with our expectations.
Much to our surprise, we won our first few games. Before we knew it we found ourselves in the semi-finals. During that game, our luck continued and we pulled out an unlikely victory. We knew that meant we were headed to the championship and soon after, we learned we were facing Highland Elementary, a team we had lost to twice during the regular season.
During the championship game our team played flawlessly, but Highland took the lead by two runs in the top of the last inning. We had to score three runs to win the game. Our first guy struck out. The second and third players got on base. At that point, the winning run was at the plate and it just happened to be our best player, Michael W. Michael was one of the few fourth graders in the league that could manage a homerun, so we fully expected Highland’s coach to walk him. It had happened several times during the season and always struck me as a cheap shot. After all, we were just fourth graders who wanted to play baseball. Much to our surprise, however, the Highland coach, Mr. Scott Nelson, decided to pitch to Michael. Michael, being the great clutch hitter that he is, hit a homerun and we won the game and the championship.
The decision of Mr. Nelson to let Michael hit was an example of true sportsmanship. He was the principal at Arbor Hills Middle School at the time, and my guess is he knew a little something about sending kids the right message during baseball games. He could have walked Michael and taken his chances with the next and less talented hitter, me, but he didn’t. He showed his team that he had confidence in them, and he displayed great sportsmanship by recognizing that this was the fourth grade championship and not the major league world series. They lost the game because of his decision, but in the end, we all learned about sportsmanship that day. It was a courageous move and I will never forget it. He showed that winning isn’t always the most important thing. Playing the game RIGHT is!