Welcome to The Character Coach blog. Once a week we will be blogging about a character issue on display in recent news stories. The issue will usually involve a high school, college or professional athlete. We will be seeking positive stories as often as possible. Occasionally, we may also feature one of our partners whose content we feel would be of interest to our readers.
The Character Coach blog - Blog #0002 - June 13, 2012
If you haven’t seen the video or read the story about Meghan Vogel, a junior from West Liberty-Salem (West Liberty, OH), then you need to know what she did. Meghan is the runner who, 20-feet from the finish line of the 3200 meter run at the Ohio Division III state championships, stopped to help a fallen competitor, who collapsed from cramps, and helped her to finish the race.
Repeating...Meghan was 20-feet from the finish line and she stopped to help a competitor, not a teammate, a competitor who had collapsed from cramps and picked her up off the ground and with her arm around her back, supported her to the finish line.
Meghan was going to finish last in this race, the 3200 meter run, after she surprised the favorites and pulled away over the last 300 yards to win the 1600 meter run in a personal and school record 4:58.31. She could have easily ran around Arden McMath, a sophomore from Arlington (Ohio) so she wouldn’t finish last. She could have thought ‘hey, it’s not my concern’ and ran right past her.
But no, she didn’t.
She absolutely did the right thing.
Meghan showed more character in helping Arden up to finish the race than she did in pulling away from the favorites in the 1600 meter run to be her school’s first track and field champion in 28 years.
High quality character, such as what Meghan displayed in front of thousands of people, unfortunately is in short supply. However, it is exactly the type of character that needs to be taught to students and athletes across this country. Put others’ needs ahead of my own.
I’m certain that scholarship offers will come pouring into Meghan after this.
According to the Springfield News-Sun, "The crowd (at Ohio State University) came to its feet, with the roar growing harder with each step."
After the standing ovation, Meghan told the News-Sun, "Helping her across the finish line was a lot more satisfying than winning the state championship."
Can I get an Amen?
The officials at the state championships also get a badge of honor for their ruling in this situation. State rules automatically disqualify a runner who aids another runner. Officials waived the rule because of the superior sportsmanship displayed by Meghan!
Can I get another Amen?
The officials also made the absolutely correct call in interpreting the rule in this manner. There was no unfair advantage gained by Meghan or Arden, nor was there any intent to gain an unfair advantage for either young lady. Gaining an unfair advantage is the obvious intent of the rule and the officials were spot-on in their actions.
I sure hope a lot of other athletes - younger and older - take a page out of Meghan’s book and apply it in their life - on and off the field/court of play.
Meghan exemplified exactly what is missing in sports today - good overall character and specifically, true sportsmanship.
Every coach and young athlete looking to play sports in college should use this example as a powerful teaching moment and should aspire to find a way to learn more about acquiring strong character. You can do so by seeking a mentor, someone to whom you look up and from whom you can learn some quality life lessons.
If you would like to know the quality of your character, please visit www.CharacterMeasures.com, click the “Surveys” tab and take one or both of our character assessments.