Some say parents take their kids’ sports too seriously these days. From peewee football and tee ball to high school sports, kids are being pushed younger and harder than ever before. And while it’s true that healthy competition can build character as well as physical strength, the stories of high school and college athletes being favored for their talent on the sports field above all else are pervasive and legendary.
So, I think it’s about time we heard some GOOD news about student athletes. Here’s a great example of a kid who can balance “hard work pays off” and “it’s just a game” — putting 100% into the effort he puts out there for his high school sports team while also knowing that life is about so much more. His name is Ty Koehn, and he’s a high school baseball pitcher from Mounds View High School Minnesota.
The Sporting News reported on the phenomenal act of sportsmanship by Koehn after his team beat Totino-Grace High School 17-10. The win meant that Koehn and team would move on to the state baseball championship. If you’ll watch this short video, you’ll see something VERY unusual happen AFTER Koehn strikes out Totino-Grace batter Jack Kocon to end the game.
Instead of celebrating a victory with his teammates, Ty Koehn CHARGES the batter. Just watch.
This high school pitcher held off celebrating with his teammates so he could console his childhood friend instead.
— Sporting News (@sportingnews) June 11, 2018
Why? To console him.
You see, Kocon wasn’t just ANY opponent that Koehn was facing down. He was more than a rival. He is in fact, one of Koehn’s close friends. And before he let himself celebrate a victory, his first priority was to console his friend, who he knew would be devastated by the loss. It wasn’t until after the two friends shared a long hug and some words (wouldn’t you LOVE to know what was said?) that Koehn joined his team for a well-earned time of celebrating their achievement.
Ty Koehn knew something was more important than winning.
“We are very close friends,” Koehn told Bring Me the News. “I knew him from all the way back when we were 13. We were on the same little league team. It was tough when we went to separate schools but we kept in touch.”
“I knew the game was going to keep going or it was going to end right there,” he added. “I knew I had to say something. Our friendship is more important than just the silly outcome of a game. I had to make sure he knew that before we celebrated.”
Only after consoling his heartbroken buddy did the victor join his teammates for the appropriate celebration. I tell you, friends, I have watched that video where the pitcher consoles the beaten batter several times. I just CANNOT get enough of it!
Ty Koehn is clearly a young man of great character, and that character will take him far in life. Much further even than the state baseball championships.
The mom in me has to suspect that he was raised to put a priority on developing such character, and that this value of sportsmanship was instilled in him by his parents. In a world full of bullying, exclusion, and “not my kid syndrome,” Koehn’s act of compassion shines brightly on the competitive field.
In an email sent to Bring Me the News by his coach Mark Downey, it sounds as if some stellar coaches along the way have helped form Koehn’s character as well.
“Ty’s actions the other night do not surprise me and are reflective of what I might expect from any one of the players on the team,” Downey said in an email to BMTN. “All really great kids, just a joy to be around on a daily basis.”
Parents, I’ve said many times in articles that WE are the ones who can make a difference in school violence and bullying by raising KIND kids. We need to raise our kids to simply follow the golden rule, to love others MORE than themselves and treat others a THEY would want to be treated. What would Ty Koehn want to have happened if HE had been on the losing team?
I’ve no doubt he would have wanted a hug of comfort from a life-long friend. His ability to truly EMPATHIZE with his friend and opposing team member is what sets him — and this particular baseball game — apart.