Shining moments

More than winning

While school sports programs often turn into highly competitive events, two LDS youth have demonstrated true sportsmanship by showing that school athletics is more than winning and losing.In separate events, one in the United States and one in Canada, these youth demonstrated the true spirit of competition with simple gestures of sportsmanship.

Ernie Higbee, 18, a member of the Cypress 4th Ward, Cypress California Stake, won the gold medal at the Sunset League diving championship last spring. His competitor had been well ahead on points, but struck the diving board on an inward dive in the final event. The mishap left him with a concussion and a wound that required several stitches to close, and it cost him the victory. Despite the injury, the young man qualified for the California Interscholastic Federation (CIF) Finals.

Placing first in the league event, Ernie had also qualified for CIF. When the two met again in CIF competition, Ernie approached his competitor, with gold medal in hand, and said he wanted to give the young man the medal because he felt it belonged to him.

Although the competitor did not accept the medal, he and many others who heard the story were touched by the act of kindness.

Aleccia Boland, 12, a member of the London 2nd Ward, London Ontario Stake, had a similar experience at the London Elementary Schools Cross Country Championships.

She and another 13-year-old girl were co-leaders in a race, well ahead of the rest of the field, when, 200 meters from the finish line, they bumped into each other, causing Aleccia's competitor to fall.

Instead of claiming the victory, Aleccia stopped and waited for the girl to pick herself up before racing for the finish. Aleccia's competitor won the race, but both girls came out winners. In fact, the girl later conceded the race to Aleccia.

The actions of these two youth exemplify the true spirit of athletics, which is founded on sportsmanship, instead of a concern only for victory. These young people showed others that "It doesn't matter if you win or lose, it's how you play the game." In their "shining moment," they demonstrated that integrity is more important than winning. - Sheridan R. Sheffield

(Another in a series of "Shining Moments." Illustration by Deseret News artist Reed McGregor.)

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