Malik Stewart faced off against high school opponent Mitchell McKee in the Class 3A wrestling championship. Throughout the season, McKee has been training hard to get a chance to compete in the state championship in honor of his father, Steve, who has terminal cancer.
The Star Tribune says Steve McKee has had cancer for the past year. The tumor in his chest had metastasized and Steve was told that he only had two months to live. He’s been clinging to the hope of watching his son wrestle in the state tournament.
Steve’s wish came true as Mitchell made it to the state championship and almost effortlessly took down his opponent, Malik Stewart, in just over one minute making Mitchell the state champion in his weight class.
While that story itself was enough to move the audience, it’s what Malik did after the match that had an even greater impact on the crowd. He ran over to his opponent’s dad, Steve, shook his hand and embraced him. The gesture of flawless sportsmanlike conduct led to a standing ovation and tears from the audience.
“I went through the same thing when I was younger but my dad didn’t pass by cancer. It was by a heart attack, so I know what he is going through,” said Stewart, who was 7 years old when his dad died. It made the moment that much more spectacular.
Watch the two young wrestler’s stories below, and spread the powerful message of being kind to all, for everyone you know is fighting a hard battle.