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The Ultimate Act of Sportsmanship

Two NCAA Division II schools were playing softball. Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky had never hit a home run in her college career, but with the score tied 0-0, she hit one out of the park. Two players on base ran home, and Tucholsky ran toward first base, missed it, then turned around. Her knee suddenly gave out and she collapsed. Tucholsky could not reach first base.

If she received any help from her coach or teammates, she would be out. The coach could replace her with another runner and keep a two-run single, but that would rob Tucholsky of her only possible collegiate homer.

That’s when the opposing team stepped in. Central Washington senior and scoring leader Mallory Holtman asked if she and her teammates could carry Tucholsky to each base.
"Honestly, it's one of those things that I hope anyone would do it for me," Holtman said. "She hit the ball over her fence. She's a senior; it's her last year. … I don't know, it's just one of those things I guess that maybe because compared to everyone on the field at the time, I had been playing longer and knew we could touch her, it was my idea first. But I think anyone who knew that we could touch her would have offered to do it, just because it's the right thing to do. She was obviously in agony."

Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace lifted Tucholsky off the ground and supported her weight between them as they began a slow trip around the bases, stopping at each one so Tucholsky's left foot could secure her passage onward. Even with Tucholsky feeling the pain of what trainers subsequently came to believe was a torn ACL (she was scheduled for tests to confirm the injury on Monday), the surreal quality of perhaps the longest and most crowded home run trot in the game's history hit all three players.

After that, does it really matter who won the game? You can read the entire story at ESPN. Link -via Metafilter

(image credit: Stephen Katin/WOU)

Update: See a picture of Tucholsky "running the bases" in this story.

This is why women's sports are never televised. It reminds me of an episode of King of the Hill, when some guy who set a high school football record the honest way finds out some kid is going to break his record by being carried into the endzone, with the opponents standing aside.

It defeats the whole purpose of keeping score in a game. If this was just some backyard game, that'd be cool.
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That's pretty impressive, that they could look past a possible loss to help an opposing player achieve something she'd never have another chance to attempt.
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I disagree with Bean. They didn't just give it to her for no reason. She legitimately hit a home run, and was just injured in the course of running it. I think it's nice. It's just a college game, and when it comes down to it, she's just a girl, not a professional athlete getting paid for this (scholarships aside).
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Ashley -

Scholarships is the key word here. A lot of people don't realize how much money schools have riding on the success of their sports teams, even further down at the Div. III level. Like I said, this would be totally cool in a friendly backyard game; but this was an officially sanctioned NCAA sporting event, being tracked on both sides for purposes of deciding how much money to allocate to these athletic departments. Fraud is fraud, friendly or not.
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@bean Fraud? Put that crack pipe down son!

Showing humanity to a fellow human is a trait only humans have. Animals don't. Which side are you putting yourself on with that remark?
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she didn't really do it though, she just gimped out and got pitied. She could be a bad person and karma just didn't want her to get that home run
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Sigh... with all the Neatorama posts that have been featured on Digg, there was bound to be some carry-over of trolls... Bean, please, STFU.
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I disagree with Bean. The repelling nature of his claim notwithstanding, think of the publicity this league will now receive! The story is great, attractive, and if anything it will be more beneficial than harmful.
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They decided they would treat it like a friendly game and take back some dignity from the opportunistic and commercialization of sports that has led most to believe sportsmanship isn't part of the it's getting good draft picks from the player auction block worth billions.
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These ladies were able to show the good side of human beings, the humanity in the sport. It's about time we are able to see something good involving sports, regardless of what gender it is.
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Absolutely wonderful!

@Bean: you're a turd, and that statement is why I don't watch pro baseball. Turdlings like you ruin it with the "seriousness" of your beliefs.

It's a bunch of guys that never grew up playing a GAME!!!!
Pay me to spit, scratch my noodle, and make endorsements to products only turds like yourself buy.
All while juiced on roids and lying to the public.
Get a life and enjoy true human interaction.
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In a world in which sport has become so competitive that the actual sportmanship is most often overlooked, it is wonderful to read a story like this one. Good on yer, girls!
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That is an article from the New York Times in a series about college athletics scholarships. The series states that while men's college basketball and college football have scholarships to give, the average college program (like baseball, softball, track, swimming) has 4-10 scholarships per team. The average amount of scholarships for women's division II softball was 7.2. Few in these sports has a "full ride" and free tuition; and believe it or not, some people actually compete for the fun of it.
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Hey Bean. Its called SPORTSMANSHIP.
Weather there is money involved or not. Thats what is missing from most sports these days.
The other team's members were good sports. She had already hit the ball over the fence but by the rules she has to touch all the bases without help from her team. But the other team could help her do it so they did. I wonder who did win the game.
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In years to come they will look back and feel good about themselves. This is a far more important thing than a baseball game score.
In fact this is one of the best lessons to learn in life or in school. In every choice, do that which will make you feel proud.
Wow! That was easy.
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I'm amazed at the few troll-type comments on here. Competitive sports ruin plenty of good people thanks to precisely that kind of attitude. Talent scouts or no, it's about having fun playing a GAME. The opposing team helping someone around the bases is not an act of fraud, it's a symbol of respect for her as a player and a recognition of the first home-run of her college career.

Technically, they could have made her crawl around all the bases, or they could have simply let her be disqualified, but that's hardly what I would call good sportsmanship...sounds a lot more like being a callous dick like the troll commenters.

Everyone in favor of organized sports leagues claims that sports make the players better people. THIS is evidence of that. If the other team had simply shrugged and said, "Hey, not my problem," allowing her to be disqualified, it would have just been another in a LONG list of evidence that organized sports just make dicks out of good people.
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Here's a story about sportsmanship from the 2007 Virginia State Wrestling Tournament. It proves that you don't have to take 1st place to be a winner, and speaks volumes for what the sport of wrestling teaches our young men. Here goes:

My son was wrestling another young man for 7th-8th place. Both guys already knew that they would be "All State" -- this win was about "pride of placement." My son knew going into the match that the other boy had a full ride football scholarship waiting for him at the University of Maryland.

During the second round of the match, the other boy hurt his knee, and the Ref called injury time. After about a minute, the other boy limped back on the mat and wrestling continued -- but my son didn't go after the injured knee.

The boys continued to wrestle, and then separated again -- competition time was ticking off the clock as the other boy held his knee, and my son tried to think about how to go after him, without hurting the knee further. The other boy was in the lead, and I'm ashamed to admit that we were alll screaming at my son to stop standing there and "get him."

The Ref figured out what was going on and called injury time again. While the other coaches and the ATC talked to the other boy, my son told the Ref he didn't want to hurt the other boy permanently -- that this was just one match, and that the other boy had a scholarship on the line. The Ref went back and talked to the other boy and his coaches; they decided that he would continue with the match. The boys went three rounds; however, my son did not work the wounded knee or leg, and ended up winning anyway.

I think that both wrestlers showed tremendous courage and heart. Even though they finished 7th and 8th, in my book, these young men took first place! :-)
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Wow, what a lot of hate towards bean, even though what he's saying is essentially correct. And calling him a turd? Not very classy.

Sports is about chivalry, having fun? Sports has always been about winning, from the time of the ancient Greeks until today. And winning at any cost. A story like this is nice and heartwarming, but would it happen in major league baseball, the SuperBowl, the World Cup (or whatever it's called) for soccer, the Olympics?
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I don't know Sean so I can't testify to his turdiness but everything he said is not correct. Most of it is opinion and the bit about fraud is just plain wrong. Fraud is wrongful or criminal deception intended to result in financial or personal gain. Since none of the players were actually breaking the rules they were not committing any wrongful or criminal deception. I guess you could say that the injured player achieved some personal gain but realistically speaking it would not amount to much more than bragging rights. One homer over an entire college career? The opposing players who carried her, in my opinion, received the most personal gain. I imagine the high they received from that event (and the attention) lasted longer than any they would have received from the game otherwise.

Sports have not always been about winning at any cost. In fact, today, professional sports is not about winning it is about making craploads of money. If they could do that by losing then lose is what they would do. At any cost. There have been many games that were purposely lost for monetary profit. That is what is wrong with sports and why I am glad my kids are completely uninterested in holding Kobe Bryant and that dog fighting football player and their ilk up as role models.
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