Our beverage industry is a strong supporter of sports and physical activity of all kinds, including community-based Little Leagues, local high schools, professional sports or the individual athlete training or staying fit.

One of the reasons we love sports so much is for what it teaches us about ourselves, about the character of others and about the value of teamwork and community.

Just more than a week ago, in the cold routine of Milwaukee, a young man heartbroken over the loss of his mother that afternoon taught us all something about the strength of the individual spirit and the bond of a team during the Milwaukee Madison basketball game he played in that evening. But his team's opponents that night taught us just as much about compassion, sportsmanship and humanity.

This newspaper column in the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel tells of a remarkable story. It's about one teenager's struggle through probably the worst day of his life, and how a bunch of strangers from a neighboring state helped ease his pain just a little bit.

In doing so, these young men remind us why sports are so important to society for the life lessons, as well as the joys of life, they provide.