Editorial: Name of the game

Mount Desert Island High School sports teams regularly win sportsmanship awards. These awards recognize “conduct which imposes a type of self-control involving honest rivalry, courteous relations among the players, coaches and officials, and graceful acceptance of results.”

But the lessons of teamwork reach much deeper than “courteous relations.” At swim meets, students stand or kneel poolside and raise the roof cheering each other on. Sometimes when the cheering team arrives back on campus from an away contest at the same time as another team, they’ll form a cheering tunnel to welcome their fellow Trojans home. And often on the court or field, one player will notice when another is beating herself up, say about a mistake or a missed opportunity, and will take a moment to say something encouraging.

This week, a middle school cross-country meet was held at the high school, on the challenging, hilly home 5K course. Football practice was also wrapping on the upper practice field. As they gathered their gear, a few football players noticed one middle school runner was having a hard time finishing the course. They dropped what they were doing, jogged over to the course and joined the young runner for the rest of the race.

These varsity athletes know a thing or two about pushing yourself, playing hard in heavy gear in August swelter and November wind. And they knew the runner was perfectly capable of finishing his race, but they also knew it feels good to be part of a pack. Kudos to them.

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