Sportsmanship alive and well

Melody Sundbakken, Minot

I am writing about the character shown by the Jim Hill Mystics eighth-grade volleyball team. This past weekend was the city tournament. The Jim Hill Mystics team has been playing well all year and after a few rough games with emotions, have been showing very good sportsmanship. So, it was not a surprise to see good sportsmanship at the tournament. However, the degree of sportsmanship and character was above and beyond any other team I have seen play.

The Jim Hill Mystics team played the Ramstad Rockets team on Friday. The match ended in a tie with Jim Hill winning the first game 25-23 and Ramstad winning the second game 25-23. These were two evenly matched teams and it was some very good volleyball being played. The best thing was how each team was cheering for the other team. If Ramstad missed a serve, Jim Hill would offer encouragement saying things like “That’s OK, you’ll get the next one.” If Jim Hill had a good play, Ramstad would acknowledge the good play, even if it meant Jim Hill gained a point. Both teams recognized good volleyball and supported the other team even though they were playing against each other.

The second day of the tournament showed good sportsmanship as each team played other teams. The decision for the championship game came down to a tie for second between Jim Hill and Ramstad. The tie breaker was whichever team lost by the fewest points. Jim Hill had lost by the fewest points by a margin of only six points. My daughter came into the stands crying, and I had thought Jim Hill did not make it to the championship game. But, she was crying because Ramstad did not make it.

While waiting for the championship game, the Jim Hill team and the Ramstad team were seen on the sidelines as one group. It was nice to see the purple and red together. During the championship game, Ramstad cheered for Jim Hill the whole game. Jim Hill played passionate volleyball. They also played very good volleyball. You could tell these girls wanted this championship. They were playing to win for a reason. Jim Hill did win, took the championship. During pictures with the first place trophy, Jim Hill took the required pictures of the team with the trophy, but then called the Ramstad team over for pictures. They wanted Ramstad to be in a picture with them with the first-place trophy. They wanted to share it with Ramstad.

After the game, I said to my daughter, “You guys must have really wanted to win. You played with passion.” Her response was, “Mom we were playing for Ramstad. We wanted to win for them.” As a parent, this made me very proud! At that point it did not matter if they had won or lost the game, the girls were winners because of their character. They showed great sportsmanship! This was a big testament to the lessons being taught by the coaches. Not only were these girls learning volleyball skills, they were also learning how to be a good player with character.

I feel the Jim Hill Mystics team should be recognized for the display of sportsmanship they showed at the city tournament. They were a wonderful representation for Jim Hill. I also think Coach Tasha Hanson should be recognized for the passion and character she has instilled in those girls. I have never been more proud of a team then I was at that tournament. Jim Hill can be proud to have these girls as students and athletes.