This story ( http://www.springfieldnewssun.com/springfield-oh-sports/high-school-sports/wls-state-champ-lends-a-helping-hand–1385613.html) appeared in the Springfield News-Sun (Ohio) Sunday June 3, 2012 by Dave Long, Contributing Writer.
WLS state champ lends a helping hand
COLUMBUS — Lending a helping hand was more satisfying than winning a state championship Saturday for Meghan Vogel.
The West Liberty-Salem High School junior was the surprise winner in the Division III girls 1,600 meters in the finals of the state track meet at Ohio State’s Jesse Owens Stadium.
She broke away from race favorite Tammy Berger of Versailles and Delainey Phelps of Toledo Christian with 300 meters to go. She won going away in 4:58.31. It was the first time she had broken the five-minute mark.
What Vogel did at the end of the D-III 3,200 meters, however, got her a standing ovation.
Within 20 feet of the finish line, Arden McMath, a sophomore from Arlington High School, collapsed in front of Vogel. Rather than run by her, Vogel helped McMath to her feet and helped her across the finish line.
The crowd came to its feet with the roar growing louder with each step.
“Helping her across the finish line was a lot more satisfying than winning the state championship,” admitted Vogel.
By rule, a runner in track or cross country is automatically disqualified for aiding another runner. In this instance, however, meet management took no action. McMath was given 14th place in 12:29.90 and Vogel 15th in 12:30.24. Vogel made sure McMath crossed the finish line first because she had been ahead of her.
“What a selfless act,” said Arlington coach Paul Hunter. “She could have just gone around Arden. But she chose to help. I’ve never seen that at a state meet. That’s real sportsmanship.”
————— -30- ——————–
You can click on this link and watch from the point that Vogel had started McMath moving toward the finish. A few — darn few — would note that an official — specifically, an umpire — stands back to camera with a yellow flag in his left hand and a white in his right. As soon as Vogel stopped to help McGrath, the yellow flag should have been raised and left aloft. Also note that, after crossing the finish line, other officials in red coats do exactly the wrong thing with McMath.
Here’s thedrpete’s take. Give the fallen runner’s coach, Paul Hunter, an F. Even with time to think about it after-the-fact, he still makes clear that he has the IQ of a crown of broccoli. Give the crowd-that-roared a D, that because they weren’t being paid to do what is best fort the fallen athlete, and also because many, if not most, of them probably attended government-operated schools and were, thus, dumbed-down to feel with their hearts when thinking with their brains was called for. Give high school junior Meghan Vogel a C for understandably, given her youth and government-school mis-education, being “selfless”. “Selfless” means suspending any use of your rationality. Bless her little heart.
Give the meet management an F as well. They huddled and agreed — Who, after all, wants to be or even appear to be heartless — without ever engaging a brain cell to violate NFHS (National Federation of High Schools) rules so as to reward an athlete for (a) breaking the rules and (b) doing the wrong thing. This can send some sort of misguided or unguided message to all of the other young minds full of mush, particularly with the help of Contributing Writer Dave Long.
So what does thedrpete think that Meghan Vogel should have done? First take: Finish the last 20 feet. Then, since not a single adult in the place is checking Arden McMath for signs of life and for imminent threats to life, run to the fallen runner, protect her from oncoming traffic on the track, and scream for coaches and officials to act like adults running a state championship track meet by giving aid and summoning emergency medical professionals.
Second take: I don’t know how far behind McMath Vogel was when the former collapsed to the track. Time, therefore, may have precluded this scenario. If Vogel had time to both be unable to see signs of life, say breathing, in McMath (fairly visible late in a near-2-mile run) and also see that no adults were running to aid her, and, furthermore, if Vogel had some first-aid training, then Vogel might have stooped to check vitals, call for help, then continue to finish, say, third-or-so.
What is the worst thing Meghan Vogel could have done? Bring the fallen runner’s head up above her and lift her to her feet. McMath’s body and mind had told her to get down and lower her head. Maybe there was some reason for that.
So Dave Long wrote a “feel good” story. They teach that in progressive journalism schools (Sorry for the redundancy). And a crowd roared its approval of a “feel good” happening. And a coach wallowed in a “feel good” euphoria. And Meghan Vogel learned a wrong life lesson. And Arden McGrath got lucky that she wasn’t further injured or, possibly, killed.
It wouldn’t surprise me if Ms. Vogel and her parents get a call from President Obama to congratulate them on her selfless act, one from which we can and should all learn a lesson. It’s so like The New Deal and The Great Society and Medicaid and subprime mortgages for people with zero ability to pay back the loan.
I’m so over witnessing the applauding of people for their supposed “good intentions” while overlooking their disastrous actual unintended consequences.
Vogel — not sufficiently recovered from her earlier 1600-meter win — was running last by the last lap. McMath was second-to-last and down 20 meters from the finish. This is per Dyestat/ESPN. Though it doesn’t for me, if this changes your take, then I am correct with this postscript. http://espn.go.com/high-school/track-and-xc/