BY ANGELO LYNN
SPRINGFIELD — This past Saturday, the Otter Valley field hockey team met visiting Springfield in which both teams came out as winners by seeing close-up what good sportsmanship means.
It all started back at the Otter’s Homecoming game against Springfield on September 25. As OV Coach Jodie Keith recalls “as soon as the Springfield team walked onto the field, they began saying, ‘Good morning! Good luck today! We’re so happy to be here!’ The coach and the players had such positive attitudes and were so happy to be at OV playing field hockey, it was contagious for our team.
“I remember multiple OV players saying, ‘they are so nice! They are so sweet! We should have invited them to our team lunch after the game.’
“Since we were not able to invite them to our lunch that day,” Keith continued, “everyone (including the OV parents) wanted to do something special for the Springfield team to thank them for their positive attitudes, good sportsmanship, kindness and respect. So everyone decided that we would do something for the Cosmos when we traveled to Springfield on Oct. 16. The OV team was so excited to be able to show their appreciation and support for the Springfield team. As stated in the letter from an OV parent, this team represents the true meaning of Sportsmanship and how teams should behave, win or lose.”
Back in Springfield, a Facebook post there noted that when the Otter Valley girls arrived to play the Cosmos on Saturday, they made a “pregame surprise sportsmanship move” by presenting each Cosmos player a gift to express their appreciation of their team’s positive attitude and friendliness.
The Springfield Facebook post continued that the team later received an email on Monday, from “a Mom of an OV field hockey player,” with the following message:
“We had the pleasure of playing your Springfield girls field hockey team during our Homecoming at the end of September. What an exceptional group of girls. It appears to be a rebuilding year for your program and a new coach. They have certainly mastered what it means to be a team. They are supportive of each other and were so respectful and kind to our girls.
“This coach and team reflects and reminds us that the real meaning in high school sports is Sportsmanship. Teaching lessons of fairness, ethics, respect, and a sense of fellowship with one’s competitors, whether winning or losing.
“Best of luck and continued success to them on and off the field.”
That post sparked lots of other posts from friends of the Springfield Field Hockey team, including many heralding the team’s sportsmanship and team camaraderie.
All of this, of course, stands in stark contrast to the recent news in other parts of Vermont and New England of fans casting foul dispersions and racist tropes at opposing team members, and of all the negative ways social media plays out in today’s society.
It’s a bit of good news in the world of sports prompted by good deeds from Otter Valley and Springfield teams.