Many of us have experienced working hard for a goal, ultimately to fall short.
For Malik Stewart, a high school wrestler from Blaine, Minnesota, that goal was to win the state championship in the 120-pound class. It didn’t happen.
Stewart was pinned by opponent Mitchell McKee of Michael Albertville High early in the match, giving McKee the state title.
But Stewart didn’t behave like a kid who just lost a match — let alone the biggest one of his young life. He acted like a gentleman and a compassionate human being.
Stewart hugged McKee and then ran over and did the same to his opponent’s father, who was watching from the sideline. Steve McKee has been battling terminal cancer.
Stewart lost his own father to a heart attack when he was just a young boy, so he knew what the victorious McKee was feeling emotionally.
“I got a little teary because I lost the match, and I knew the hard times he was going through,” Stewart said in an interview with NBC affiliate KARE-TV in Minneapolis.
So many times in sports at all levels, we see those who fall short act selfishly and immaturely.
What a pleasure it is to see someone act with dignity and class in defeat.
Character Counts Finalist
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- Raymond S. Kellis sophomore Chase Weaver balances leadership roles in sports, church
- Westwood's Brianna Anderson makes big differences with little actions
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- Arcadia High School's Grant Loftin leads in lacrosse and beyond
- Williams Field High School junior Lindsay O'Driscoll finds time to help others
- Scottsdale Christian's Christina Clark has dreams, reality of helping others
- Golf, piloting and helping others are Brody Burnell's passions
- Teddy bear drive, speeches help Emery Miller inspire children to overcome adversity