Contributed Photo By Emily Clonts: The Safford Bulldogs varsity soccer team take a moment of prayer.
By Jon Johnson
In the professional sports world, it is common to see players attempt to game the system by vehemently arguing against referees when the players are obviously in the wrong; insisting they didn’t commit a foul or that the opposing player was out of bounds when they were not and that sort of thing. It’s unsettling to me to see grown men straight out lie to others to get an advantage. I call it a form of cheating myself.
Conversely, those grown men should take a lesson from the Safford High School varsity boys soccer team, which showed the epitome of good sportsmanship during an overtime match with the Tanque Verde Hawks on Tuesday, Jan. 22.
As told by Emily Clonts, Safford was in a dogfight with Tanque Verde and the game went into overtime knotted up at 1-1.
During the overtime, Safford was up 2-1 when Tanque Verde took a shot that appeared to narrowly miss. The referee said the goal was no good, but players on the field knew the ball had actually gone in and the goal should have been called for the Hawks.
As both teams gathered around the referees, the Tanque Verde squad dejected with the feeling they had been robbed, the Safford players acknowledged that they knew the goal should have counted and told the Hawks that they would make it up to them.
When play resumed, a Safford player kicked the ball to a Tanque Verde player and the team stepped back to let him kick it into the goal undefended to make up for the goal that was not called.
How many individual players much less an entire team would stand up and do what was right while erasing their advantage? It appears honesty and integrity is something that gets lost along the way as players move on from high school to college to the pros. And that is a shame.
Safford ended up scoring another goal and winning the game, 3-2, and those players left the field knowing that they had won it fairly and showed what sportsmanship truly looks like. For that, I tip my cap to the Safford soccer team and say, “good show.”