Yesterday, Derek received a letter from the high school. Figuring it was his report card or other parental correspondence, I opened it. It was a letter to Derek from the principal's secretary. She had gone to the wrestling match that night and seen his match. She told him that in 45 years with the high school she had never seen that level of sportsmanship and kindness extended to an opponent. Praising his maturity and integrity, she hoped Derek knew what an effect it had on her and the rest of the crowd. He had represented his school in the best possible way, she said. She sent a copy to Derek's wrestling coach and the school's athletic director. It was so nice of her to take the time to do that! What a wonderful reminder he has of that day.
When Derek went to wrestling practice, he found a copy of the letter taped to the practice room wall. The coach made all his teammates read the letter. Although a little embarrassed by it, Derek said they all told him how much they respected his decision that night. One senior told him about a similar situation with another freshman a few years ago. The teammate said this boy quickly pinned the disabled opponent and spent the rest of the tournament bragging about it. They told him they were proud when Derek acted much differently. (it's good when seniors are nice to you!)
Funny, but Derek doesn't seem to understand what all the fuss is. He kind of just shrugs his shoulders about it all. Guess that's what makes it nice. :)