An athletic competition, by definition, means there will be a winner and a loser. Sometimes, there can be a tie, but those don’t happen often these days. We like to see winners.
There were plenty of winners on the soccer pitch Monday at the Danville Soccer Complex where the Danville High School Vikings took on the Bismarck-Henning Blue Devils. The athletic part of the contest was decided early as Danville quickly built a large lead.
Then Danville senior Paul DeArmond was fouled in front of Bismarck-Henning’s goal as the time ticked away. DeArmond was awarded a penalty kick, a one-on-one showdown between him at the Blue Devil goalie. DeArmond, a senior, had never scored a goal. The whistle blew, he stepped forward, launching a kick that ended up in the back of the net. DeArmond’s teammates swarmed over him with congratulations.
Danville coach Chris Griffin and Bismarck-Henning coach Ryan Reifsteck knew this moment would happen. The two friends recognized the importance of teaching their players there are things more important than what’s reflected on the scoreboard.
“He doesn’t have all of the physical abilities that a lot of other kids do,” Griffin said about DeArmond after the game. “But there’s no doubt he works harder than everyone else we have on the team. He never complains. He’s never late. He’s never missed a practice. And he’s never missed a game. He works harder than anyone I’ve ever had in my six years of coaching ... and he means a lot to a lot of people.”
Sportsmanship, loyalty, commitment, dedication and class — those mean more than any final score. The players and coaches on that field Monday showed how they all are winners by any definition.