Photo: John Langeler - KING5

In the wake of the tragic events at Marysville-Pilchuck High School Friday morning, Oak Harbor High School's varsity football team (my Alma Mater) was scheduled to play MPHS for the Wesco 3A North title. Instead, they forfeited the game and the league title to M-P.

That's the biggest gesture of class and sportsmanship I have ever heard of.

Oak Harbor has endured tragedy in recent years, but for a team to step into a support role for their comrades, peers, student-athletes, and student bodies, exudes absolute humility, class and respect.

To forgo an event of competition, to bear the weight and heavy hearts of your rival in their time of need ... in the end, relationships are cultivated and bonds are forged for a lifetime from such a simple act of compassion.

We all need to share and care for one another, no matter if someone is different from the norm, everyone has a purpose and special gifts to share with us all.

We can live and learn to understand as human beings through this process. Collectively, we can shape and mold our characters and hearts, to see and feel how one's challenges can affect so many.

In writing this story, surely I miss calling my hometown team, yet what I left behind was a group of gentlemen who set the standard of commitment and excellence, on and off the field.

This should be the expectation and standard for every student-athlete, coach and administrator in every high school in the state of Washington.