Cody Wood of Libby came away from the 18th annual Shodair Classic soccer game with more than a victory under his belt.
He came home with a life lesson.
“I cannot take what I have for granted,” Wood said. “(I learned) that I should always keep in mind I need to work hard in all I do and good things will come.”
Held Saturday at Nelson Stadium at Carroll College in Helena, the Shodair Classic gathered all-star soccer players from across Montana not only to play soccer but also to help bring awareness to mental illness and to visit with the young patients at Shodair Children’s Hospital.
Wood said he believed he was chosen to attend due to his soccer accomplishments — including all-conference and all-state — and from being nominated.
“It was tons of fun,” Wood said. “All the kids there were pretty easy to get along with and extremely talented.”
Players were split into groups to tour the hospital on Friday, Wood said. They learned that children at the hospital participate in yoga, sports and a ropes course, “which was pretty cool” in Wood’s estimation.
He said Shodair staff had him participate in the ropes course.
“It’s kind of like a tight rope” that the children climb or walk across, he said.
In his game Saturday, which pitched east against west, Wood scored one of his team’s 5 unanswered goals after being down by 2.
But the kids’ excitement at the players’ visit, not the win, was the most memorable aspect of the weekend for Wood.
“Seeing how they take care of the kids was humbling,” he said. “It’s incredible what they do there.”
Wood, who graduated this year, will attend the University of Montana beginning this fall. He said he plans to study computer science.