OREM — The Summer Olympics in Rio showcased some inspiring acts of sportsmanship. But these don't just happen on a world stage; two high schools in the Alpine School District recently demonstrated sportsmanship on a local level.
On Oct. 4, the Timpanogos High School girls volleyball team hosted Mountain View High School. The respect that was shown to the visiting team and its coach prompted Jaicee Rodan, Mountain View's head coach, to share her experience with Timpanogos' principal, Joe Jensen.
Rodan's 8-month-old son has been dealing with heart failure for four months. In September, when the teams met up at Mountain View, Rodan's team "made a presentation and dedicated their season" to Jay, Rodan's son.
Rodan wrote that the visitors were "not only respectful during that time, but also listened thoughtfully."
Then when the teams met up again at Timpanogos, Rodan wrote, "prior to the whistle being blown for the game to begin, (Timpanogos') senior players presented me with a beautiful navy and green quilt. Each girl took the time to write a heartfelt note on a square of fabric that were all sewn and tied together for baby Jay."
Rodan continued in her note to Jensen, "I wanted to ... let you know how incredibly impressed I was with your volleyball coach and team on Tuesday night.
"Your team's presentation was an example of true sportsmanship and class. It brought tears to my eyes, gave me a feeling of hope and strength to continue to press forward, and inspired me to want to be more aware and kind to those around me. Multiple parents and players from my program expressed similar feelings."
Rodan only knows two of the players on the THS team. She concluded her email, "As a coach, thank you! As a mother, thank you! As a member of the Orem community, thank you! A new fan of THS."
That both teams would honor a coach and her son, particularly when most on the opposing team don't know her, shows sportsmanship and kindness, a community rallying together. Rodan showed respect and gratitude in taking the time to send such a thoughtful email to Jensen.
These stories are inspiring wherever they take place, but when they happen in your own community, they create a sense of joy and pride. How thankful we should be for all those involved in this touching experience, and Baby J, we are all praying for you.
Seth Saunders is the general manager of SoulKix as well as a contributor to Deseret Digital Media.