Beautiful Teamwork

A number of years ago when my daughter Ellen was running high school cross-country, occasionally I assisted Coach Moore, the cross-country coach, with cross-country meets. Up until recently, the school year for students in South Carolina started in early August. If you have ever been in South Carolina in the summer you know that there is nothing more miserable than the heat of an August afternoon. The temperature is typically in the mid 90’s, with very high humidity and absolutely no wind. About 3:30 each afternoon, the boys and girls of the high school track team dress out and begin training in the stifling heat for their five kilometer cross-country meets.

One of the things that always surprised me was the number of overweight students that turn out to train for cross-country. For most of these students the heat, stress, and the temperature take their toll causing them to drop out early in the season. At the same time, the August heat does not really faze the more seasoned athletes who train all year. As you would expect as the season progresses, the runners’ times improve and temperatures get much milder as fall approaches.

The event that I want to share happened at a cross-country meet held at Irmo High School in late autumn. There was a chill in the air and it was unseasonably cool for South Carolina in the fall. Before the race, others and I assisted the coach in setting up the lane. If you are not familiar with cross-country races, the lane is a flagged off area that funnels the incoming runners to the finish line where they are timed. The meet was held behind the school in a large field lighted with bright stadium lighting. This was the area where the lane was set up and the runners completed their run.

As I recall, even though the meet was exciting, the evening was uneventful. The meet ended in the typical way. The seasoned runners from both schools finished way ahead of the pack. The slower runners straggled in. Once across the finish line, the runners struggled to catch their breath, grabbed a cup of Gatorade and put on their “warm-ups” to keep from getting a chill.

Runners who had completed their run milled around, met the kids from the other school and swapped stories, friendly jabs, and compliments. At some point that evening, the coaches figured that all of their team members had returned. The time keepers downloaded results to their computers, and those who helped set up the lane began to tear it down and pack it up. The meet was over.

At the edge of the field, just visible by the stadium lighting and several hundred yards away, one more runner appeared. The runner was a girl who was probably a freshman or sophomore. She was from the Irmo High School cross country team. She was clearly struggling to find the energy to finish up running strong. It was quite clear that she was one of the overweight kids that had, against all obstacles, trained with the cross-country team all season. Even though she was finishing dead last, it didn’t seem to dampen her spirit. She was working hard to make her way toward the lane that was gone and finish line that had been removed.

You could see the amazement of the Irmo team as they made each other aware of the last runner coming in. One of the girls on the Irmo team yelled, “Form a lane!” Other team members echoed this command as the Irmo team quickly rose to their feet. About forty students scampered to assemble themselves into parallel lines forming a lane. Once in place they all shouted words of encouragement to the final runner. As this girl entered the lane, the team members from each side of the line joined hands to create an archway for her to run through as the encouragement continued. What could have been an embarrassing and humiliating finish for this girl was turned into a welcoming and rewarding conclusion from her team members.

My words cannot explain the impact of the scene that night. I will always remember how great this group of all-American kids looked on that cool fall night as they proudly stood under the bright stadium lights in their black and gold warm-ups cheering their teammate on. They showed everyone present what compassion and sportsmanship is all about.

Responsibility for the values displayed that night rest with parents of the team members and with Coach Moore who has been an inspiration to the kids his entire career. The coach’s leadership clearly shone through in the actions of his team that night.

Submitted by Anonymous


Teamwork
Pass It On®
Pass It On®

  email

Your Comments
Here are some other inspiring stories you might like.
ACHIEVEMENT
AXANA SOLTAN Axana’s steadfast commitment to service made her not only an international voice of activism, but also a champion for the minorities. For the year of 2018-2019, Axana was selected as one of the United Nations finalists to serve as the U.S.A Youth Observer at United Nations Headquarters. The following year, Axana...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
MOTHER TERESA Mother Teresa was born in Albania and left her home country very early in life. She lived in Ireland to learn English, and ultimately went to India where she resided until her death. She was a beacon of hope for many. She did not look to caste, class, religion, skin color, or any other identity to separate...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
FAMILY
PAT C Next to his faith in God, the most important thing in my Dad’s life was his family; my Mom who was the love of his life, his kids, grandkids, great grandkids, brothers, and sisters. One of the ways he made life better for all of us and left his fingerprint on our lives was through the use of what I like to call...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MAKING A DIFFERENCE
LORI R. In 2012 Lori, along with her then high school age daughter Shira, began to keep their vehicle filled with pet supplies to hand out to the pets living on the streets of Riverside, CA with their homeless companions. They would give out pet food, leashes, collars and water so the pets would be fed well and kept...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
MENTORING
MISTY WELLS 5 Years ago Misty saw a need in children in Foster Care and she took action. For the past 5 years going strong Misty started a non profit called " A Reel Future" where she takes children in Group Foster Care fishing. She has single handed taken over 3,000 foster children fishing. She is showing them...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
KINDNESS
WENDY T Wendy was my wife of 4 years. We dated in high school, over 30 years ago. Eight years ago, we reconnected, and fell in love all over again. I quickly became attuned to why she was so special: Her kindness. I had never met anyone before, who showed as much kindness to everybody, as Wendy had. It wasn't one...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
WISDOM
JAHSEH O There are many heros I look up to, but Jahseh Onfroy helped me through the darkest times in my life. His music did not only help me but it helped countless people. When he spoke to us, it was always about growing and becoming better than what we are. I have learned many valuable lessons from him, and I constantly...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
TISH R My former wife is an amazing individual. She works as a behavior analyst, and has been helping injured others achieve a much greater quality of life. In one of my proudest specific memories, she facilitated a transition for a man who was in an ALF, brain-injured, from wearing diapers in a wheelchair to...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
CARING
BETTY DRUCK I want to tell you about my grandmother,she is in her late 50's,she has spent everyday of her life caring for everyone she meets.She has had multiple surgeries and other problems of her own and yet she has given everything for her family,she has spent every christmas with my dad,even when she was in other...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BEING THERE
BK SAINI SAINI My husband helped me since he knew me since 1975. He is there for me every single day. He is so kind all the time. He took care of me during any need except not when he is at the job. He comes at home if any emergency arrives. For God’s grace he was never called till today. I still remember when our second baby...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
STRENGTH
ANDRE D On May 2, 2014 Andre' MY HUSBAND at the age of 42 suffered a massive heart attack, he was without oxygen to his brain for several minutes. It caused an Anoxic Brain Injury and other problems such as cortical blindness, seizures and he is bedridden for the rest of his life and resides in a nursing home. The...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
COMPASSION
CHARLIE SCHULZ My son, Charlie, was an inspiration to many during his 19 years on this earth. When Charlie was in 5th grade, despite what we learned later was severe social anxiety, their strong sense of what was right led them to circulate petitions among their 5th grade schoolmates and write and present a statement (through...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
BRAVERY
HARRIET TUBMAN Harriet Tubman freed 300 slaves she was so brave that is why she is my hero
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
PEACE
DANA W Grieving (Fly High Dana Wilson Jr.) On March 7, 2022 my only little brother passed away at home in his bed. This has been one of the hardest things to deal with. I dont think a day goes by that i dont find myself breaking down crying. I think my eyes are puffy did alot of crying yesterday..omg this is really...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
LOVE
AMARA OKEKE My hero is my late mother Since 2000, she fells sick. She was diabetic, all my life I have taken care of her , I abandoned my school, my Visa and career to taken care of her , after 19 years of my sufferings she died last two Saturdays..I was actually 6 years when I started cooking, doing house chores for my...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
HELPING OTHERS
SAWYER A. After learning about children and families in the poverty-stricken villages of Zambia; a country in south-central Africa, Sawyer Anderson wanted to help bring clean, safe water to the villagers. At age 9, Sawyer wrote and illustrated the book, Water Works, which is published in America, Vietnam (in Vietnamese)...
SUBMITTED BY ANONYMOUS
Read Story
Where did your values come from?

We've all had people in our lives who have made a positive impact on us. A parent or grandparent, a sibling who was there for us, or maybe even just a guy who shines shoes for a living? Whoever they are, tell us their story so they can inspire us even more.

Tell Us Your Story All Everyday Hero Stories