Two songs come to mind whenever I attend the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships.

Two songs come to mind whenever I attend the Missouri State High School Track and Field Championships.
First, there is “Heartbreak Hotel,” a soulful Elvis Presley ballad that pretty much sums of the residence of Blue Springs strongman Jordan Chrisman.
Chrisman’s heart wasn’t just broken, it was shattered, when he didn’t live up to expectations and finished sixth in the shot put.
I’d watched him perform the past three weeks, and following last week’s 57-feet, 4.5-inch winning effort at the sectional meet, I just knew Chrisman was going to land on the top step of the podium at Dwight T. Reed Stadium to have the first-place medal draped about his massive neck.
But it didn’t happen.
“That’s whey they compete and don’t just go by the throws leading into state,” Blue Springs coach Joe Cusack said. “This is so disappointing. I’m disappointed for Jordan because this was going to be his year.
“He came into the event with the top throw and he was second last year to (Lee’s Summit West’s) Brooke Mosier, and he graduated. Jordan was throwing great in practice, but sometimes, things don’t work out the way you’d hoped.”
I don’t want to sound like an apologist for Chrisman, but the class he showed after the sixth-place finish impressed me much more than a hunk of metal on a red-white-and-blue ribbon.
“The best man won today,” Chrisman said, forcing a smile.
It would have been so easy for him to run away and not say a thing. I’ve seen professional athletes who make millions of dollars hide in a training room or sneak out a back door of the clubhouse.
But not Chrisman.
When he saw me in the media tent after the event, he came right over and shook my hand.
I’ll remember his class long after I’ve forgotten his throw or finish.
“It’s time to concentrate on football,” said the Wildcats’ football team defensive MVP and the winner of the Buck Buchanan Award (given by the Simone Foundation to the top defensive player in the metro area).
“This isn’t the way I wanted my high school career to end, but at least I have football to think about. If I had to think about today all summer, well, I don’t think I could handle that.”
He could, but I am happy he doesn’t have to.
The other song that comes to mind in Queen’s anthem, “We Are The Champions.”
When Blue Springs South sophomore Samantha Nightingale broke the five-minute mark in the 1,600 meters for the first time her career, the expression on her face was the look of a champion.
“Hi, friend,” she said, as she entered the tent located on the field at Lincoln University. “I’m glad you were here today. I think I just broke 5:00.”
She was shaking and quivering with excitement.
Her ray of sunshine broke through the gloomy clouds that seemed to hang over the shot put pit after Chrisman’s disappointing day.
“This is just one of the coolest moments of my life,” she said.
The top seven girls in the 1,600 broke 5:00 and Nightingale passed four girls in the last 100 yards to finish in fourth place.
The place wasn’t important, neither was the medal.
“I came here to break 5:00 and I did it,” she said with a touch of conviction in her voice. “I’m never going to forget this day.”
Neither am I.
The class a young man showed following a major disappointment and the joy a youngster displayed following a magnificent triumph personify what the state track meet is all about.