Want a heartwarming story for the holiday season that makes all that is wrong with competitive sports, right? Then read this amazing story of 9 year old Josh Zuchowski, a 9 year old Florida swimmer who knows the true meaning of being a “winner” and how your competition, your toughest rival, is in actuality your partner in the pursuit of excellence!
Josh has been competing as a swimmer for a number of years and became concerned when his “arch-rival, ” 10 year old Reese Branzell, missed two consecutive meets and wasn’t at the big holiday meet on December 8th. When they asked, Josh found out that Reese had been hospitalized a month earlier with a bacterial infection in his hip and had been unable to compete. So before this big meet, Josh decided to dedicate his meet to his rival Reese and swim for him! If he won the high point trophy, Josh was going to give it to Reese! He even wrote the card he was going to give his hospitalized opponent before he even swam! When the meet was over and he indeed won the high point trophy, he gave it to Reese’s coach with a card that read, “I am so sorry that you have not been feeling well. Get well soon. So we can get back to battling in the pool. I have looked up to you since I was 7. You were an inspiration for me wanting to swim fast. I would rather get second with you at the meet than win with you absent. I won this trophy for you today! Hope to see you in the pool soon. Your friend Josh.”
Josh could teach a lot of parents, coaches and athletes out there what is really important in competitive sports. It’s NOT about the win! It’s NOT about the trophy! It’s about how you conduct yourself and your relationship with your competition and better teammates. Josh gets that sports are really about the match up, the “seeking together” that a tough opponent provides you with. The better our opponents and teammates, the more opportunity we have to get better ourselves. While so many other kids in competitive sports are worried about losing, obsessed with winning and sometimes willing to break the rules to come out on top, Josh is a breath of fresh air! He demonstrated heart, character, generosity of spirit and true caring to really end up being a winner!
Swimming champ, 9, gives trophy to hospitalized rival – TODAY.com