Every kid who has played sports has been told to play with integrity, and be a good sport. Somewhere along the way, however, that lesson is lost, replaced by a win at all costs mentality promoted by the player's coaches and by the society that watches them.
That is what makes this story so great.
In a conference championship game, Western Oregon player Sara Tucholsky came to the plate. Tucholsky, a senior who had never hit a homerun in her career, drove the ball to deep center field. As she watched it sail over the fence, she excitedly missed first base. As she went back to touch it, something terrible happened.
Her right knee gave out.
As Sara lay on the ground in pain, the umpire informed Western Oregon that Tucholsky had to round the bases for the run to count;if her teamates touched her, however, she would be called out by rule. At that instant, opposing Central Washington senior first baseman Mallory Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace picked up Tucholsky, and proceeded to carry her around the bases, letting her score what would turn out to be the winning run.
In an era where Barry Bonds and Roger Clemen's steroid use floods our TVs, Spygate dampers our faith in football, and athletes generally have a me first philosophy, this story comes as a breath of fresh air. All too often athletes forget the first things they learned about sports: to play for the love of the game, and to play with character and class.
The loss dropped Central Washington out of qualification for the Division II playoffs, yet not one player on that field regrets the decision they made. They can be content knowing they played the game the way it should be played, and in today's sports world, I think that is most commendable.
Video link: http://video.aol.com/video-detail/nw-softball-players-teach-lesson-in-sportsmanship/216570486