Knox News reports: He had started in on his second loop, halfway through the cross country course, and Seth Goldstein liked the way the race was unfolding.
A group of kids ran just in front of him. Many more had fallen behind.
“I was feeling good,” said Goldstein, 17. “That’s when everything happened in front of me.”
One of the kids in the pack dropped to the ground. The others raced onward toward the finish line. Goldstein did something altogether different.
He stopped racing. He went to the kid who had fallen, who by this time was in severe distress.
“His lips were turning blue and his eyes were rolled back in his head,” said Goldstein. “I was terrified. But then I thought to myself, freaking out isn’t going to help any here.”
The right lesson
What lessons do our kids learn through sports? It’s hard not to wonder at times.
Winning is the main thing. Steroid users seem to hit a lot of home runs. If you’re a gifted athlete, you’ll get more chances than you deserve.
Sportsmanship is so last century. The flashiest athletes get the richest sneaker deals. If you want a headline, you’ve got to crush the other guy.
Those are the real lessons, aren’t they? If we’re being honest with ourselves? So consider today’s story a reminder of what it’s supposed to be about.
Goldstein is a senior at Cooper Yeshiva High
School, a small, Orthodox Jewish school in East Memphis. He runs cross country to get in shape for basketball. But what he did in the middle of a race a few weeks ago may be more deserving of headlines than anything that’s happened since the academic year began.
He stopped. That was the first thing.
“I’m a lifeguard,” he said, as if that explains it all. “It was obvious he needed help.”
Goldstein called for a parent to phone 911. Then he turned back to the kid – a student from Germantown – who had blood bubbling out of his mouth.
“He had bitten his tongue and was bleeding pretty bad,” said Goldstein. “I feared he was going to choke on his blood. I rolled him on his side so he wouldn’t asphyxiate.”
In the midst of this, a woman named Jessica Chandler ran up. She’s the mother of another Germantown runner and had known the fallen runner for years.
“Honestly, I was in shock,” she said. “But this guy was taking complete control. He was like, ‘You – call 911. You – go get some ice.’ He turned him on his side. I thought he was a parent or an EMT.”
At this point, the victim was shaking, his body seizing again and again.
“This is normal,” said Goldstein. “I’ve seen this before.”
Note: Goldstein had actually never seen this before. But he didn’t see the point in panicking. He was calm, reassuring everyone involved.
“He was awesome,” said Chandler. “He was so competent and kind. When the boy started to come out of it he just kept saying, ‘You’re going to be OK. We’re here. We’re with you. You’re going to be OK.’ ”
Before long, an ambulance arrived. The real EMTs took over. Whereupon, Goldstein posed a question to the group.
“Can I finish the race?” he said.
Only then did Chandler realize that Goldstein was another competitor.
“The EMTs looked at me kind of funny,” Goldstein said. “They’re like, ‘You’re racing? Well, sure, go ahead. I guess you can finish the race.’ ”
So that’s what Goldstein did. All the other runners were long since done.
“Everyone was clapping for me, like I was the chunky kid who couldn’t finish,” he said. “They were all cheering and saying, ‘You can do it!’ I’m thinking, ‘C’mon, man!’ ”
Goldstein’s teammates had been wondering where he was. They joined him for the last part of the race.
“It’s an example of exactly the values we’re trying to instill in our kids,” said Gil Perl, the dean of the Cooper Yeshiva School. “We have the concept, from the Talmud, that if you want God to have mercy on you, you have to have mercy on others.”
The fallen runner turned out to be fine, by the way. He had suffered a seizure because of the heat. Goldstein finished in 32 minutes and change.
If you ask him, Goldstein will tell you it’s the slowest race he’s ever run. It’s also his personal best.
Source: KNOXVILLE NEWS SENTINEL