All too often, the drive to win can be a blinding force for young athletes.
Alright sure, winning is sort of the point, but kids who participate in organized sports are also given an opportunity to learn valuable life skills such as teamwork, communication and yes, even class.
These lessons are often drilled into athletes at the high school level, but for some, they just seem to come naturally.
Such is the case for fifth grader Darius Kruah.
Competing for Mossy Creek Elementary in South Carolina, Darius was poised to win the 100-meter at a meet that took place earlier this month. That is until he looked over his shoulder and saw the runner who had been right behind him, Merriwether Elementary’s Aaren Crane had taken a very hard fall.
As if he completely forgot about the race, Darius turned his steps and attention towards his injured opponent. The simple act of compassion had everyone, including the fallen runner, wondering exactly what was happening.
“I already thought he won the race and was coming back to sit in the bleachers. But then I saw teachers like looking at him like ‘Why’d you stop?’” Aaren told NBC affiliate WAGT.
Darius says he was just doing what he felt was right.
“He got hurt and he wasn’t going to be able to win the race and that wouldn’t be fair so I just thought that I would just lose the race with him just to help him and see if he was okay.”
Aaron had fractured his wrist and while he and Darius awaited further medical attention, Theresa Spieker, an educator from Mossy Creek, captured a photo of the two boys. She posted the shot on Facebook, acknowledging that while he may not have won the race, Darius is certainly still leading by example.
While the two boys had never met before the race, the small gesture has forged a fast friendship between the rival runners.
CUTENESS ALERT: Darius was winning his track meet when his opponent, Aaren, fell on his wrist. He turned back to help Aaren, forfeiting his win but gaining a new friend. WATCH for their sweet words.
— Celia Palermo (@CeliaPalermo) May 9, 2019
In sports, as in life, Darius says he believes in paying it forward.
“If you help someone they could go and help someone and they keep on going and help people too,” Darius said, a lesson Aaren took to heart as he and his family pulled over on the way to the hospital to assist another driver in need.
While a simple act of caring for another person shouldn’t be so newsworthy, the fact this has been liked and shared by so many people is a testament to how rare it can truly be.