Sports, most notably professional sports, are a vicious pastime. In football, grown men collide and tackle one another with the force of a tractor trailer. Hockey players smack each other in the legs and body with a stick, and smash each other into the glass, often knocking out some teeth. Basketball players stand prone, attempting to take a charge from someone coming at them full speed. Us Americans live for the adrenaline of the competition. We love the people in our jerseys and can’t stand the people wearing the other colors. Good behavior and sportsmanship often go out the window when stakes are high.
However, not all is lost in the world of sports. Throughout all the intense competition and physical battles, stories of great sportsmanship sometimes surface. More often than not, these stories are seen in the lower levels of sport, including high school and collegiate. The annual edition of the ESPYS highlight stories that transcend sports. I would like to honor some of these moments, no matter how old, to show that honor still exists on the battlefield.
In 2008, Western Oregon and Central Washington faced off on the softball diamond. Sara Tucholsky, a senior on the Western Oregon team, stepped to the plate having never hit a homerun throughout her entire softball career. On that fateful April day in 2008, Sara’s fortunes would change. She stepped into a pitch, launching it past the fence, her first career home run. However, something drastic took away that moment for her. Upon crossing first base, her leg gave out. The umpires informed the team that she cannot have any help crossing the plate or it would be ruled a single. Two opponents from Central Washington University, Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace stepped up to the plate and carried her across each base, stopping briefly to allow Sara to gingerly set her leg down to touch the base. Those three would later earn a spot on the 2008 ESPY awards for sportsmanship.
For every time a player hits someone with a cheap shot or makes a horrible comment, stories like this come along and remind us why we play sports. So go ahead, try and watch this video without shedding a tear. Good luck!