Currently on Trapit’s sports page, we have all kinds of topics covering subjects such as Sports Racism, Sports Doping, Match-Fixing, and all kinds of various sports-related lawsuits plaguing the purity of athletics. Sometimes it’s tough to cope so much perpetual negativity as a diehard sports enthusiast! Fortunately, it only takes that one sparkling story to shift the perception of competitive sports back into a positive light.
I’ve had a trap on sportsmanship for quite some time, but have been waiting for some sort of viral occurrence to spring this puppy to life. Thank you Meghan Vogel for bringing your selfless story to the playing field—it truly was the happy-go-lucky one I have been anticipating. As a sports editor, I’m grateful for this story, therefore Meghan Vogel, you earned yourself a trap!
The setting of Vogel’s story took place at an Ohio state track and field championship on the home stretch of a 3200-meter race. Vogel—having already won a state crown earlier in the day in the 1600 (her bread-and-butter event)—found herself trailing a fellow competitor Arden McMath by a hair. When McMath collapsed on the track in utter exhaustion with the finish line a stone’s throw away, Vogel’s first instinct was not to hurdle her opponent and keep her legs moving—her reaction was quite the opposite. Vogel stopped on a dime, and hoisted McMath’s arm around her, physically carrying her opponent the final home stretch. Vogel even allowed McMath to finish ahead of her. The crowd erupted! [Video here].
It was a spitting image of what personifies sportsmanship, serving as a gentle reminder that competition-crazed athletes are in fact human after all. After creating a trap on this awesome moment in amateur sports, I expected to hear nothing but praise for the young athletes involved. Unfortunately, there seems to always be one bitter pill out there to play devil’s advocate. Yes, someone really tried to toss a wet blanket on this one. One writer actually found Vogel’s act as a poor example of sportsmanship. Read for yourself.
Ok, I agree with a few of the points the writer chose to address. It’s true the media sensationalized this one a little bit to bring the “non-sports fans” into a sports-related conversation (that’s what it takes for a local video to go viral on a global scale). There was no real sacrifice made here. Vogel didn’t give up a potential victory to come to a stranger’s rescue. Vogel had been in last place with a few dozen meters to go when McMath took her plunge. Is there really any difference between finishing in 14th or 15th place? Besides the shame of finishing dead last, it’s basically an identical feeling finishing that far behind the leader. Vogel admitted to being exhausted entering the race, and knew she didn’t have a chance at winning the 3200, her self-proclaimed “back up event.” She even reflected on an ironic moment mid-race when she realized that she was doomed to finish in both last place in one race, and first in another.
But, c’mon man! How dare a sports writer try and downsize the magnificent impact of this selfless sports moment. Just imagine this poor face being left behind, unable to cross the finish line. Try and tell me that a good sportsman would’ve stuck with the rules (by not touching another runner) and left her hanging.
Can you imagine the embarrassment, the agony a common teenager would feel laying out there alone and helpless? Vogel turned a very minor, yet potentially traumatic experience for a young sophomore, and transformed it into a shining moment for the hundreds in attendance to witness it live in all its glory. It proved that the softball feel-good sportsmanship story we saw back in 2008 wasn’t a fluke. As a result, Vogel’s Facebook and Twitter feeds have been getting blown up with praise, with comments suggesting that young athletes have a newfound role model in which to find inspiration.
“Any girl on the track would have done the same for me,” Vogel said.
It’s a heartwarming thought for Vogel to assume so, but it’s a naive reality, unfortunately. However, the more the world gets exposed to stories like these that represent true sportsmanship in its purest form, the more likely the next young athlete will choose do the right thing when one’s instincts must make a reactionary decision.Hey Dwyane Wade, maybe you should be taking notes—you could learn a thing or two about what it takes to be a good sport. Cussing out your coach and throwing shoes is far from a Vogel move.
For Vogel, I present a slow clap and a trap. Cheers!