This picture of sportsmanship is the good news we all need right now

St Eddie's player Brody Grainger, 9, comforted by Marist opponent Theo Campton, 10, with Dr Michael Koppman. Picture: Kelly Grainger
St Eddie's player Brody Grainger, 9, comforted by Marist opponent Theo Campton, 10, with Dr Michael Koppman. Picture: Kelly Grainger

St Edmund's and Marist colleges are fierce rugby rivals but a junior match on the weekend captured a pure moment of sportsmanship between some of the schools' youngest students.

The photograph of a 10-year-old Marist student comforting his injured nine-year-old rival from St Eddie's has provided a spark of good news amid the doom and gloom of coronavirus.

Bungendore mum Kelly Grainger has been photographing local sport for 10 years, always gifting her photos to schools and families.

She was on the sidelines on Saturday at Marist for an ACT Junior Rugby Union Under 10s match when her nine-year-old son Brody, a player for St Eddies, was hurt.

Usually she would put down her camera when any player was injured, but knowing Brody and that he got hurt a fair bit, she kept shooting. The image was taken just after Brody was stepped on by a stray boot and the studs scraped his knee.

A rival Marist player, Theo Campton, 10, was there to help his young rival immediately.

"Theo stayed with him until the first aid member Dr Michael Koppman came over and assessed Brody. Theo waited and then helped Brody from the field," Kelly said.

"They had a smile and a laugh on the way off the field together. It warmed my heart and made me realise that in these times, we just need to be kind to each other."

She labelled the photograph, "In a world full of COVID, be kind".

"My heart skipped a beat seeing Theo helping an opponent. I normally put the lens down when a player is injured - but this was more than just an injury. The depth behind helping a stranger when his cards are down was definitely worth capturing. These kids have been through so much this year alone - we can all take away something from these two boys," Kelly said.

The Eddies-Marist photograph came after another parent, Luke Hickey took this photograph in 2019 at under 10s AFL game as Weston Creek Molonglo Wildcats player Gemma Klose tied the shoelace of opposition player, Tuggeranong Lions' Lily Tompkins.

The Eddies-Marist photograph came after another parent, Luke Hickey took this photograph in 2019 at under 10s AFL game as Weston Creek Molonglo Wildcats player Gemma Klose tied the shoelace of opposition player, Tuggeranong Lions' Lily Tompkins.

It is sometimes our youngest sportspeople who show us the way.

The photograph of Brody and Theo is reminiscent of another photograph taken in 2019, this time by father Luke Hickey on the sidelines at a junior girls' AFL team. The image, of a Weston Creek Molonglo Wildcats tying up the shoelace for an opposition player from the Tuggeranong Lions, went viral.

Brody, meanwhile, has made a full recovery. Both schools have requested Kelly's photograph to frame and display in their changerooms or front reception areas.

And who won the game?

"St Eddie's won the points on the scoreboard but Marist won the sportsmanship on the day," Kelly said.

"Marist are very proud of their student and his parents should be beaming with pride at their gorgeous young gentleman."

Marist College rugby player Theo Campton, 10, of Narrabundah and his mum Claire.

Marist College rugby player Theo Campton, 10, of Narrabundah and his mum Claire.

Theo's mum Claire said she and her husband Jonathan were certainly proud of their son but had no idea the photograph would be such a sensation.

"As he walked off the field with Brody, he got a round of applause, and then he walked back to the team to keep playing and I honestly thought that would be the end of that," Claire said.

"It was kind of like, 'Good on you Theo, that's the game' kind of thing."

With each family's permission, St Eddie's shared the photograph on social media and the image had "taken on a life of its own, much to my surprise", Claire said.

"Because, honestly, Theo was just doing what he would always do. I think he is a bit surprised by the amount of attention it's gotten, because in his mind, that's what you do. It's definitely a beautiful photo.

"I've had lots of comments saying, 'Oh, you must be so proud' and we certainly are. But we kind of expect him to do that. It's been an interesting couple of days."

Theo is the oldest of the Narrabundah couple's five children.

Marist player, Theo Campton, 10, (far right) is the oldest of five children.

Marist player, Theo Campton, 10, (far right) is the oldest of five children.

"He's always been a good-natured kid, even as a toddler," Claire said.

Theo was also playing his first season of rugby union. And this game would never be forgotten for his actions.

"I think in the current time, I think people are looking for that basic human decency towards each other," Claire said.

This story A picture of sportsmanship first appeared on The Canberra Times.

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