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Character counts.  It matters in sports and it matters in life. We recently saw a couple examples of good character from some high school student athletes.

Example 1:

On April 12, the plate umpire at a JV baseball game between Cobre and Socorro noticed a unique sign of sportsmanship between opponents.  Cobre was dominating the game, up 16-0 in the 5thinning. It was obvious they would 10-run rule the Warriors.  Socorro coach Chris Salcido inserted three substitutions to bat, giving three kids an opportunity to get in the game.  It was during this inning the umpire saw something that doesn’t happen every day. “When the third sub came to bat, it appeared he was pretty nervous and swung at the first pitch which was well out of the strike zone,” he recalled.  “The Cobre catcher, Andres Tovar, quietly told him to relax, keep his eye on the ball and don’t swing at the bad pitches.  He swung and missed the next two, striking out, and Andres offered some last words of encouragement as he went back to the dugout.”

Example 2:

A different umpire observed a demonstration of sportsmanship in a varsity game between Rio Grande and Atrisco Heritage.  “Joel Serna from Atrisco Heritage displayed true sportsmanship through his hard work and hustle from the first inning to the last,” described the field umpire that day. “He showed a genuine respect for the officials, his opponents and his teammates.  Mr. Serna continued to lead his teammates by example during frustrating moments when calls did not go in Atrisco’s favor.  Instead of complaining and questioning rulings, he just simply mustered his courage within, applied self-discipline and continued to aggressively Compete with Class.”

“Joel has always been ready and willing to do whatever the coaches ask of him,” said his coach Christopher Trujillo.  “Joel just keeps his head down and works hard.  He is a leader by example.  Even when he’s recovering from an illness or injury, he is in the dugout supporting his brothers for every pitch.  His positive attitude, hustle and willingness to work hard are an example the younger players can look up to, or anyone for that matter.”

Example 3:

On April 5that a JV baseball game between Volcano Vista and Atrisco Heritage, freshman Jadon Trujillo made quite an impact on one official.  “During pregame warmups, I saw him (Jadon) stop taking warmup ground balls and stand at attention with his hat over his heart facing away from the field,” described one umpire.  “I looked in the direction he was facing and only then noticed that I could faintly hear the Star-Spangled Banner playing on the softball field, so I stopped and did the same,” he added.  “As the song played, I turned back to the field and saw every participant from both teams standing on the field showing their respect for the anthem.”

These stories are positive examples of individuals who know how to Compete with Class.

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