Our favorite assignment of the year: profiling winners of what used to be known as the National Sportsmanship Awards, redubbed The Musial Awards by the St. Louis Sports Commission. I had the honor last year of meeting Meghan Vogel and telling her story.
Here's the long version. The condensed version: After winning the 1,600 meters at last year's Ohio High School Division III meet, Vogel entered the 3,200. Trailing the field after the final turn, she saw the runner in front of her, Arden McMath, stumble, then fall. Vogel helped McMath to her feet, put her arm around McMath, then made sure McMath crossed the finish line in front of her. The crowd rose to its feet. The video went viral, and the pair made the talk show circuit for a week or so. Vogel traveled to St. Louis last November to receive her sportsmanship award.
Lost in the sportsmanship angle was the fact that Vogel won the 1,500 meters. She intends to defend her title. The problem: she was diagnosed with mononucleosis earlier this spring.
Among her fellow sportsmanship recipients was Rayshawn King, a basketball player at North Carolina Central University, who suffers from leukemia. After her diagnosis, Vogel sought inspiration from King, reasoning that if leukemia didn't stop him, little ol' mono wouldn't stop her. The two keep in contact through twitter. Maybe King and Vogel are the kind of folks you'd like to follow, too.
Vogel's mom and coach, Ann, limited Meghan's training, and it appears to be paying off. The districts are scheduled this weekend, and Vogel has the eighth-best time in the state.
Here's a more thorough telling of the story, from the Springfield (Ohio) News Sun.
It just goes to show that sportsmanship is the gift that keeps on giving. Can't wait for The Musial Awards, Nov. 9 at the Peabody Opera House.