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Have Your Say: Is There Ever a Bad Time for Sportsmanship?

It was a sports moment that went viral around the world. A pitcher, having just booked his team a spot in the state tournament with a strikeout, instead took the time to console the strikeout victim.

The game took place in St. Paul, Minnesota, where Mounds View High School was facing off against Totino-Grace. Mounds View pitcher Ty Koehn was facing Totino-Grace’s Jack Kocon with two outs. It was the section final of the state tournament, meaning the winner would go on to the final round and play for a championship.

Koehn struck Kocon out looking, and the Mounds View players poured out of the dugout. Koehn took off running, but not toward his teammates, he went to home plate. He put his arms around Kocon in a surprising gesture of sportsmanship. The two have been  good friends since their Little League days.

While most observers took it as a heartwarming example of sports at its finest, others questioned the timing. Koehn had just clinched a spot in the state tournament finals for his team; shouldn’t they come first? Couldn’t he console his friend later, after the game?

What’s your take?

Take 1: Friendship comes first

These players have been friends since they were little leaguers, it must have been excruciating for them to have to face each other with so much on the line. Koehn taking the time to console him must have meant so much to his friend, no doubt his teammates understood. The moment didn’t last long and there was plenty of time for celebration with his teammates. Certainly nobody should make this player feel bad about what he did. Those are the kind of kids a coach wants to have on his or her team.

Take 2: Leave off-field stuff off the field

It’s great that the pitcher cares so much about his friend’s feelings. But this was a team accomplishment, and his first thought should have been to celebrate with his teammates. It’s not like the hitter would have felt slighted if he hadn’t gotten that consolation. He never would have expected it. In that moment, it took the spotlight off of the team and onto these two players. They could have met up after the game, or even just after the celebration died down. It’s great that players have a sense of sportsmanship. But a player’s own team should come first.

So was this the right thing to do? Or should it have had to wait until later? Have your say in the comments below.

From GameChanger and Todd Kortemeier

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Youth sports, sportsmanship, high school baseball, have your say