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The Spirit of Sportsmanship

November 18, 2013

Screen shot 2013-11-18 at 11.44.36 AMI was readying myself for a game-deciding penalty shootout when a St. Elizabeth’s player came out of nowhere, ran onto a bouncing ball, and scored with only moments left in the second overtime of Wednesday’s state soccer semifinal. Hundreds of St. Andrew’s fans who spent hours in the freezing night stood silently in shock and disbelief. Confusion reigned as we watched the St. Elizabeth’s team celebrate against the backdrop of our boys, crushed, some lying on the turf, others with their hands over their faces.

And then it happened.

Charlotte Bristow ’14, standing near the front of the stands, turned and began leading a cheer. Her classmates quickly joined in and soon the entire fan base began cheering. It wasn’t ceremony. We were compelled to thank the boys for their effort against the #1 seed in a game they had every right to win. We celebrated and gave thanks.

The next day, my partner in communications, Amy Kendig, received the following email:

“I am not sure if you attended the St. Andrew’s vs. St. Elizabeth’s soccer semifinal game last night. It was a great game. St. Elizabeth’s ended up winning in the last 15 seconds of double overtime. St. Andrew’s played the game without 2 of its top players who were injured 10 minutes into the game. I was in the stands on the St. Elizabeth’s side. After the game all of the St. Andrew’s fans left the stands by walking directly in front of me and many of the St. Elizabeth’s fans. I wanted you know that after a loss like that you might expect fans of the losing team to walk out angry, but all of your fans walked out with their heads up and many of them stopped to say good game. I thought you might wanted to know, I was very impressed.”

I don’t want to make too much of something we expect from each other, but it still makes me proud to be a part of a place where the expectation is so well met. I’m also happy to say that the same happens when we win. (See boys and girls cross-country who each finished third in the state last weekend before proceeding to hug their closest competition at the finish line.)

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