During the state championship game on Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium, a Minneota players extended his arm to help a Springfield player to his feet. Upon standing up, the Springfield player developed a cramp in his leg. The Minneota player helped him back to the ground and then stretched out the opponent's leg to relieve the cramping.
"He told me thanks and he was back in on the next play," said the Minneota player, obviously feeling good that he helped the player out.
But helping an opposing player isn't considered "cool" by a lot of players and fans in recent times.
" My thinking is that without opponents, who would we have to compete with, so we need to respect each other," said Minneota senior Max Rost, who was the one who assisted this Springfield player and also was seen helping several others up off the ground during the game.
Rost is not only an exceptional athlete, but an even better person. Sportsmanship comes natural to him, which is rarely seen in this day and age of taunting, social media bullying, and ego-driven end zone dances, all designed to belittle someone.
"I would say it is in my nature (to show good sportsmanship), but I have been taught by many adults," he said. "I have just always felt that being a good sport is just the right thing to do. It makes the game more enjoyable for players, coaches, refs, and fans. I have also been taught by my parents to put myself in the other players’ shoes and think about how they view me. The many great coaches that I have played for in my career teach me many things about sportsmanship as well. I also think that watching my older siblings play in high school also taught me."
Sportsmanship has always been a big deal to me. I wrote a lengthy four-part series on the decline of sportsmanship and the many reasons behind it a few years ago for another publication. It received a large amount of positive feedback from players, parents and coaches who were nearly 100 percent in agreement that sportsmanship isn't as easy to find as it once was.
While the majority of Minneota players have been coached to exhibit good sportsmanship, Rost seems to go above and beyond.
"My reason is that helping someone up is the right thing to do," he said. "No matter who wins or loses, you want people to remember you as a nice kid. We have all been in that position of maybe dropping a ball or getting tackled and it helps to know someone is there."
Rost also was seen talking to several of the Springfield players, as he often does with opponents. This isn't trash talking, though. Rost usually sends them a positive message like "Nice catch" or "good play" during the course of action.
"I think communicating with opponents is not only an important part of the game, but also to make the game fun," he explained. "However, it is important to know when and when not to talk to an opponent, but I feel there are appropriate times."
Rost is familiar with a few of the Springfield players from playing against them in last year's state championship and also in basketball.
"I do know a few of them," he said. "I have known Carter Olsen (Springfield's talented wide receiver) since I was a fifth grader and talk to him frequently. Most of the time the players say thank you when I help them up and I respond with 'keep playing hard' or something like that."
When the game concluded on Friday and Minneota had captured its second straight Class A state championship with a 43-22 victory over Springfield, there was a "Most Valuable Teammate" award given to a player on each team. The award is given to a player who not only played a good game, but also exhibited good sportsmanship.
Rost was the Minneota recipient. This must have been the easiest pick that's ever been made.

There are plenty of holiday events coming up in the next few weeks to keep people from being bored.
On Saturday, the annual "Christmas at the Opera Hall" is being hosted by the Society for the Preservation of Minneota's Heritage from 3-5 p.m. This is an event for young and old with holiday make-and-take crafts, holiday photo opportunities that would make special Christmas cards, refreshments, tree lighting and sing-alongs. It's also a great way to visit the historic Opera Hall and take a look back to yesteryear when they were probably holding similar events there.
On Friday, Dec. 8, the Minneota Fire Department will bring out its holiday-lighted trucks at 6:30 p.m. and escort Santa Claus around town. Upon completion of the "Santa Parade", the public is invited to the Fire Hall for hot chocolate, cookies and photos with Santa.
On Saturday, Dec. 9, Santa's Workshop Craft and Vendor Show will be held from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. at the Legion and VFW buildings. Many businesses will also have sales, door prizes and/or treats. The Minneota Senior Center will hold a soup-and-sandwich lunch from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m. Santa will also make an appearance at the Minneota Public Library around 10:30 a.m. following Story Hour. There will also be a silent auction at the library from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m.
The Mascot is sponsoring its 4th annual "Battle of the Bulbs" Holiday Lighting Contest. Registration deadline is noon on Monday, Dec. 11.
See more details in separate ads for these events in the Mascot this week and next.

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