Friday, May 09, 2008

My Weekend Crush

Since this week started off without celebrities, I thought I’d end it that way as well. It’s also a sports story, but one of hope instead of heartbreak. And, just like Monday, today’s post has everything to do with beautiful females and their big, unbreakable hearts. By now you’ve probably already heard about the college women’s softball championship game in the Pacific Northwest last week and its act of supreme sportsmanship. If you haven’t, and even if you have, it’s a story worth repeating. The women’s softball teams from Western Oregon and Central Washington were playing for a shot at making it to the NCAA Division II playoffs. With the score at 0-0 and two runners on base, 5-foot-2 Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky came to the plate. The outfielder has never hit a home run before. Not in college, not in high school. And then she hit one.

In her excitement to round the bases, Sara missed first. She stopped, turned and then her knee gave out. Crawling back to the base, she was told none of her teammates could help her and if they put in a substitute runner her over-the-fence shot would be ruled a single. And that, that is where Central Washington senior Mallory Holtman stepped in. Mallory is her conference’s leading homerun hitter and her school’s offensive stats record holder. With her team’s chances of moving onto the playoffs on the line, she stepped up to the umpire. She asked if she and her teammates, members of the opposing team, could pick Sara up and carry her around the bases. He said yes, and they did. So Mallory and shortstop Liz Wallace picked up their injured opponent and the unlikely threesome made their way around the bases. By the time they reached home plate, the crowd was cheering and in tears.

And so am I. Each time I hear about this selfless act, I get a little weepy anew. Western Oregon went on to win the game 4-2 and the series. Mallory and Liz’s good deed no doubt ultimately helped to end their team’s season. But, that’s not really what mattered, said Mallory:
“In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much. It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”

Sportsmanship of this caliber is beyond rare in this I-got-mine age of multimillionaire superstars with win-at-all-costs egos. I’d say it’s nearly extinct. Grown men who get paid like kings to play a child’s game get deified for their personal triumphs. But doing the right thing even when it conflicts with your personal interests is at the core of our basic humanity. We all know the right thing to do, the question is will we do it. Mallory, Liz and Sara showed us what it looks like when you do. And it is nothing short of beautiful. Happy weekend, all.

24 comments:

tk said...

I'm actually crying. Not just teary eyes, I'm bawling. Damnit. This was-this-THIS is what it's all about. The very essence of sportmanship. This is just beyond everything. Everything.

frannie said...

Women are amazing. Those girls are amazing. That was one of the most selfless things I've seen in a long time. Thank you for posting the video. S'cuse me while I go dry my face .... ::sniffle:::

Nina said...

Thanks you for posting this story, it's so refreshing to read something real and actually worthy of our time. I wanted to take the time to thank you for this blog, i'm a new reader and it's like a little treat.

Lezlie Mac said...

*weeping*

elegant
selfless
classy
That's why girls are awesome.

Bren said...

Thank you for this story. I've just made my day.

Slayre Says said...

It's amazing to me when athletes show such class, especially with the examples set by the overpaid pros. As an athlete myself, it makes me proud to be even distantly associated with people like this.

Thanks for posting!

nycrouge said...

Which segues very well with this article in the NY Times Magazine on how women get more sports injuries than men.

@typeaholic@ said...

That was really something! God, why is it so freakin' rare nowadays...it shouldn't be, that's what I'm saying.
It was really moving, this is the real sportmanship we all must remember of when watchin' a game and the spirit players should honor while playin.

curly mcdimple said...

Um, I think I have something in my eye...

Dude, this made me cry big ol' tears. That's so amazing. Thanks for the much-needed lift!

Pyewacket said...

This story simply just touches my heart and I have such admiration for these young women.

Robin Chen said...

i started to cry reading your post, then went straight to messy ugly crying watching the video.

thanks

dc said...

I cried when I read this...thanks for posting it. Yeah, we should celebrate such deeds. We could all be inspired to act more like this and make the world a much better place.

True sportsmanship...

Becky said...

Beautiful. This is what sport should be all about. Thanks Ms Snarker.

There seems to be so much pressure on high-school athletes in the US, with money and college scholarships as the prize. Once you add money, it's no longer sport, it's almost a job, and you lose all that wonderful "it's not winning, but how you play the game" mentality. Plus kids get hurt playing with that sense of desperation.

I represent my country in my sport, and as there is no financial reward for most of the national teams at our international competitions, there is a wonderful sense of respect and enjoyment and humility (among those athletes not being finacially rewarded for medal results), which is sadly lacking in what you so aptly described as "I-got-mine age of multimillionaire superstars with win-at-all-costs egos."

Claudia said...

Sport was made for moments like this. It's not about glory, or fame. It's about the way you play it, and this is what it's all about.
These girls are amazing, and they should be proud of themselves.

Chi said...

Best thing I've read all day. thank you for posting!

not only but also said...

I'm sorry, but I'm actually laughing. Is that wrong? The whole thing happened because the umpire got it wrong. The coach actually was allowed under the rules to send on a substitute. Stupid umpires. But this was a nice bookend to your sporty week, Ms Snarker. Just as well this gal wasn't a horse or it could have been a very different ending...

Cheryl said...

Oh, Ms.Snarker.

Thank you so much for that post.

So good to see that selfless gleam of a human heart.

It is possible, everyday, for us to be generous like this. Kind like this.

Cheers!

delurk said...

Wonderful story.

BRhys said...

I'm actually quite humbled. When I played softball, I was pretty damn competitive. And I honestly don't know if I would have been so selfless or understanding. But watching this, I add myself to checklist of those who got weepy. Those young women taught me something. And I appreciate it. I would rather be like THAT, I realize. Never too late to teach old dogs new tricks? ;)

For Va Jay Jays Only said...

i've seen this on the news, on ellen and now your blog...and each time i'm crying like a baby...like its the first time viewing...

girls rock

Caeleigh said...

I think that the girls should definitely be proud of themselves, but also their parents should be very proud, as they have raised not only excellent athletes, but excellent young women. I think a shoutout also should go to the team managers who allowed them to do this for Sara, and the fact that they were given the wrong information doesn't minimize this gift. The managers could have refused to allow them to do this, since it meant that they lost the playoffs, in the spirit of winning at any cost. I agree totally with your opinion, Ms. Snarker, about pro players. However they may excel at their sports, too many fail at being good people, yet are still deified and paid like kings. We can all learn much from these young women. Did they get invited to Ellen? that's great.

I live in the Pacific NW..in this region. We grow em good here!

Trihardist said...

That's an awesome story. I'm reminded of why sports are so awesome, especially women's sports; when we get past the pettiness of who's winning and who's losing, sport has the potential to reveal some truly great character. Thanks so much for sharing.

Anonymous said...

If EACH of us did just one selfless act as this vid shows in REAL life .... could we make a better World? Perhaps NOT but certainly a better SELF! Thanks for sharing. Made MY day!

Shazzer said...

Now THAT's how the game is played, people. In fact, that's how ALL games should be played. And how come there's never a kleenex nearby when I need one?!