Sports are a great way to teach kids a healthy sense of competition. Fitness, discipline, and teamwork are all required to find success and thrive.
But too often those qualities come at the expense of sportsmanship. While the thrill of victory is sweet, it can lead many competitors to forget that playing sports is ultimately about becoming a better person.
Marissa Davila doesn’t let her desire to win get in the way of her humanity.
At her junior high school in Texas, 14-year-old Marissa Davila was running the 300-meter hurdle race and was doing well. She crossed the finish line in first place. But as she was turning around, she saw a competitor from another school trip over the last hurdle and fall to the ground.
She appeared hurt, and wasn’t able to get herself off the track without considerable staggering. Not missing a beat, Marissa jogged over and offered her support.
“I went to ask and see if she was OK and she couldn’t walk, so I helped her,” Marissa told Inside Edition.
Before the fall, the two runners were neck-and-neck and appeared to be headed for a spectacular photo finish. Instead, the crowd witnessed something much better.
After helping her opponent cross the finish line, Marissa’s sportsmanship was cheered on by the entire crowd.
“Just was a proud moment seeing her, without hesitation, going and helping this little girl,” Sadie Marie Davila, Marissa’s mother, told Inside Edition. “Not even knowing her and still helping her any way she could.”
Fortunately the girl who fell wasn’t badly injured, and Marissa said she was thankful for the help.
The audience in attendance weren’t the only ones praising the young runner’s kindness.
Video of Marissa’s sportsmanship spread quickly, and unsurprisingly is being met with unanimous approval.
“Now that is what I consider a REAL CHAMPION,” said one commenter on YouTube. “We need more people like this,” said another.
Acts of sportsmanship like this are supposed to be at the heart of organized sport at the amateur level. Marissa is setting the bar for consideration in competition—hopefully others will follow.