For those of us who played sports growing up, it’s easy to remember the June, July, August and even September days where heat is overwhelming.
Even when it isn’t you, stoppages are almost a guarantee as players struggle with exhaustion, lack of fluids and/or cramps.
Just over a week ago, I traveled up I-235 to Wichita South to see Derby soccer play in the Titan Classic semifinals. The Panthers picked up a signature win, seeing senior Saul Munoz score two early goals in the shutout win.
In the days since, I’ve found myself pondering a play that had no effect on the result.
In the 64th minute, sophomore Andy Densongkham walked over to a Liberal athlete who was dealing with leg cramps and was left by himself momentarily before the whistle was blown. He quickly helped the Redskin athlete stretch before the Wichita South trainers arrived shortly after.
What does this do? While it is a small window of time compared to 80-plus minutes of soccer, it offers a glimpse of what it looks like to care for someone in the literal heat of the moment. It helps a young player understand that while you should compete to the best of your abilities, you should be able to look someone in the eye once the game is over and congratulate someone for doing the same.
Densongkham is a gifted player who possesses a wide skill set. As he grows in his career, however, moments like these will make a difference. It is 100 percent possible to give everything you can on the field, but understand the human element and still do what you can in a situation where you’d appreciate the same gesture.
This isn’t something expected of these kids, but count me as someone who hopes to see more of these moments. A little bit of sportsmanship truly can make a difference.