A Lesson From A High School Athlete
Aug 03, 2012Posted by james

A couple of months ago, Meghan Vogel won a state title. Few people, though, consider it her greatest sports achievement. She did something else that same day that captured headlines and the accolades from coaches, parents and other participating student athletes.

The West Liberty-Salem High junior participated in the Ohio Division III track and field state meet. During the competition for the 3,200-meter final, Meghan stopped running. She decided to help another runner who had collapsed 20 feet from the finish line.

Meghan already had captured the state 1,600-meter title when she came upon Arlington High sophomore Arden McMath during the 3,200-meter race. Both runners were out of contention for medals in this event. Rather than just finish the race, Meghan decided to help Arden reach the finish line.

With each step they took together, the cheering crowd at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium seemed to get louder and louder. Arden crossed the finish line in front of Meghan. It was Meghan’s idea as Arden had been ahead when she collapsed.

“Helping her across the finish line was a lot more satisfying than winning the state championship,” Meghan later told a local newspaper reporter.

According to regulations, both runners should have been disqualified. But, with the spirit of Meghan’s actions before them, Ohio officials decided not to disqualify the runners. The final standings credited Arden with finishing in 14th place and Meghan right behind her in 15th place.

Every day, we witness outstanding competition on the sports field, in school, in business and in politics. Sometimes, though, people become overwhelmed and blinded by the emotion of competition or by the adrenalin to win at any cost. Yes, we might win the prize. But, at the same moment, we can loose a valuable part of our inner being.

Meghan’s support of another athlete so close to the finish line of the race was refreshing. No doubt she is competitive. But, at such a young age, Meghan already has found the true meaning of sportsmanship and she has taught all of us a lot about compassion.