Mitchell McKee, a high school sophomore in St. Michael-Albertville, west of Minneapolis, was on the wrestling squad. He dreamed of winning the state title and this had a special urgency for him. His dad had been diagnosed with cancer, and sadly, his prognosis was not good. Mitchell intensified his training regimen. As he told an interviewer, “Before every match, I said, ‘God help me win this match,’ you know, ‘so I can go win a state title for my dad.'”
Mitchell McKee’s training paid off: he made it to the state title match. However, he faced a formidable opponent in Malik Stewart, a sophomore from Blaine, Minnesota. Fortunately, Mitchell’s dad was able to be there despite the toll cancer was taking on him. Scarcely more than a minute into the match, Mitchell locked Malik to the mat and won the title. High school sports can be very, very competitive and for Malik, making it all the way to the state championship and then losing could not have been easy. But in a display of incredible sportsmanship and human sympathy, he went over to the sidelines and offered some kind words to Mitchell’s ailing father. As Malik described it, “He won and I knew he was pretty proud and I know his dad is pretty proud. So I went over there and I shook his hand, embraced him a little bit, told him to stay strong and everyone loves him.”
But there’s more to the story than just sportsmanship. In the video we’ve posted, you’ll hear from both of these classy young men and see some great photos from the match. You’ll also learn more about Malik Stewart’s reasons for taking a moment to offer Mitchell McKee’s dad such kind words of support.
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