Skyline (Ariz.) tennis player Mason Saul was set to face autistic opponent, and then this happened

Skyline (Ariz.) tennis player Mason Saul was set to face autistic opponent, and then this happened

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Skyline (Ariz.) tennis player Mason Saul was set to face autistic opponent, and then this happened

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Below is a post from Scott Bordow of Gannett partner AZCentral.com. The story was worth retelling and USA TODAY High School Sports wanted to share it with our readers as well. 

I don’t usually share long e-mails with my readers. But this one – from Skyline assistant principal and athletic director Greg Schultz – deserves to be read:
“Gentlemen,

I’ve been in education/sports for over 35 years in Mesa Public Schools and I came across an incident this week that reminded me of the power that sports has in a person’s life.

Skyline High School Boys Tennis traveled to Gilbert High School for a JV and Varsity Boys match on April 6. One of our JV players, Mason Saul, a sophomore, was told by our coach that he was playing an autistic tennis player from Gilbert. Our coach, Ben Orwin, told Mason to ‘enjoy and have fun in this match.’ Mason took things from there. In talking with Mason, he told me that his goal was to ‘keep the rally going for as long as the two of us could. That was what I tried on every point.’ Well, the match ended 3-2. The Gilbert Tennis player ran to his coach (Coach Richard Swanson), and said, ‘Coach, I won my first match!’ The Gilbert player was ecstatic.

Coach Swanson contacted me yesterday and told me of the classiness shown by our Skyline athlete. He said in all his years of coaching, this is one of the classiest things he has witnessed.

I talked with Mason today. I asked him if he could have won the match vs. the Gilbert player. He said, ‘Yes.’ I asked him why did you let the other person win. He said, ‘It’s not about winning. I wanted the other player to have a fun experience.’

I could not be any prouder of a Skyline athlete. For Mason Saul, it’s not about winning. It’s not about taking advantage of a situation. For Mason, it’s about treating others with respect and having fun at the same time.

The AIA has their Pillars of Character – Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring, and Citizenship. I feel Mason Saul emulated these Pillars of Character in a memorable tennis match this past Wednesday.

I just wanted to share this story with you. Certainly it is worth sharing with others. I feel people will be inspired by the actions of Skyline student athlete, Mason Saul.

Greg Schultz”

 

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