Once the EMS stabilized his leg, as soon as they lifted him onto the stretcher the team walked over to him and every player patted his shoulder and told him “good game”.
They then quietly got their gear and returned to the middle school. Overman stated he’s trying to instill the same level of class for the program as varsity coach Troy Rider. “I see everything he and the coaching staff is doing to produce not only good players but good representatives of the school and town, and it definitely needs to start early.”
Fellow 8th grade coach Mike Keefer added, “All coaches, at every level in Knoxville are teaching them how to become grown men and women, and how to treat people in general.”
Overman summed up why the players did what they did. “Whether they realize it or not, they’re learning and also teaching others how to behave. They’re not necessarily pulling them aside and saying ‘when someone gets hurt this is what you do’ but just by watching, the younger kids look up to them, and learn how to show class. This was more than offense and defense, this is about how you behave with respect, no matter what, even if no one’s looking. They won’t remember the score of this game, probably won’t remember their record in 8th grade football, but this was bigger than football and hopefully this will stay with them.”
So next time anyone starts complaining how “kids these days” are so selfish, rude or disrespectful, always remember how Knoxville’s 8th grade football players treated someone they’d never even met.