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.