High school wrestler shows amazing class in defeat

Mar 12, 2014, 6:35 PM | Updated: 6:35 pm

Editor’s note: This post originally appeared on the Character Counts blog on ArizonaSports.com

Many of us have experienced working hard for a goal, ultimately to fall short.

For Malik Stewart, a high school wrestler from Blaine, Minnesota, that goal was to win the state championship in the 120-pound class. It didn’t happen.

Stewart was pinned by opponent Mitchell McKee of Michael Albertville High early in the match, giving McKee the state title.

But Stewart didn’t behave like a kid who just lost a match — let alone the biggest one of his young life. He acted like a gentleman and a compassionate human being.

Stewart hugged McKee and then ran over and did the same to his opponent’s father, who was watching from the sideline. Steve McKee has been battling terminal cancer.

Stewart lost his own father to a heart attack when he was just a young boy, so he knew what the victorious McKee was feeling emotionally.

“I got a little teary because I lost the match, and I knew the hard times he was going through,” Stewart said in an interview with NBC affiliate KARE-TV in Minneapolis.

So many times in sports at all levels, we see those who fall short act selfishly and immaturely.

What a pleasure it is to see someone act with dignity and class in defeat.

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Pamela Hughes

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High school wrestler shows amazing class in defeat