This week I take you back to the spring sports season of 1998.
Randy and I were over at Dwight T. Reed Stadium at Lincoln University in Jefferson City at the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships.
We were there specifically to cover Smith-Cotton’s Katie Meehan, who was competing in the Class 4 1,600 and 3,200-meter state finals.
If I remember correctly, the 3,200 (two-mile) state championship run had just finished and Meehan earned a medal with a third-place finish.
State high school officials began setting up the awards stand for the medal ceremony. I looked around and didn’t see Meehan anywhere. Someone finally pointed out that Meehan had continued to run past the finish line, all the way around to turn one where a fellow competitor from Jefferson City had fallen and suffered a leg injury on the closing lap of the eight-lap race.
By the time I ran up to the turn, Katie had taken her warm up jacket off and put it over the top of the injured runner and had the runner’s head resting in her lap and was gently talking to her. When athletic trainers got to the site and helped the runner up, Katie put her arm around the girl’s shoulders and walked with her back to her team tent and coaches.
As I walked back toward the medal stand, I felt tears rolling down my cheeks. I knew I had witnessed a great display of sportsmanship and I’m pretty sure I have not seen one like it since that day. And it was a Sedalia athlete, which made me even prouder.
Katie had quite a year in 1998, winning the state championship in cross country, placing fourth in the 1,600 and third in the 3,200 in track.
That’s just the kind of athlete Katie was, very humble and modest, always caring about the good of others before herself.
Katie, I know you will read this. I am very proud of you for what you did that day.
All of which brings me to my main point. Sportsmanship no longer exists. If something isn’t done and I mean soon, people are going to get hurt and possibly killed if action is not taken against athletes and parents who are often totally out of control. We can’t afford to wait any longer.
Barring some parents from coming to their kids games would be a great first step.