I got an email from a Lincoln High School mom with the subject "PLEASE READ." Normally I'm cynical of such emails, but I bit and read it. I'm glad I did.

In the email was a link to a blog post on the Minnesota High School League's website written by Media Specialist John Millea. He posted an email he received from a Bruce at Marshall High School following their game with Sioux Falls Lincoln on Friday night.

The short version of this story is that the Patriot boys had just lost their first game of the year to Marshall, which is never easy to swallow for a competitive athlete. After changing and leaving the locker room, they saw people moving gymnastics equipment into the gym for an event the next day. The LHS boys didn't wallow in their loss. They dropped their bags and helped the crews haul the gear to the gym with smiles on their faces -- all while, I'm sure, being in a less than great mood after their first loss of the year.

I was a "good enough" sport at Beresford High School. I was never the first to talk trash or take a cheap shot, though I may have been the second to do so if I thought no one was looking. Our football coach always preached that we have "Purple Pride," conduct ourselves with class on and off the field, never trash talk our opponent, or argue with officials. Though it never happened, I knew he would have benched the best player on our team for the rest of the game if he did something dirty. But I don't remember him saying we should help Harrisburg set up the gym for a volleyball tournament the next day after they beat us. I can safely say that when I was 17 I would not have been so helpful to the school of a rival team that had just beat me. But these guys were.

Officiating high school football for the last five years, I have seen a lot of both good and bad sportsmanship. During a game on a swampy, rainy night a few years ago I witnessed a great example of class. A visiting player had a potentially serious neck injury. (We later heard that the young man was fine.) The ambulance was brought onto the field to take the player away, digging a pair of two-inch-deep trenches into the field. The heavy vehicle got stuck in the mud. Players from both teams got behind the ambulance to push it out. While they failed to get it moving, I thought it was really neat that they just did it with out being asked. It was instinctual for the dozen or so high school boys to help. In fact they had to be told to stop helping because there was potential for them to get hurt if they stayed.

To the Lincoln High basketball boys: Atta boy! I hope you enjoyed the Powerade you got for your work.

You can read the full story, and the comments received about this at mshsl.org.