An amazing story of sportmanship

May 5, 2008 — Leave a comment

I’m fascinated with this story of Sportsmanship. I told this story in my sermon yesterday at Real Life Christian Church in Clermont, Florida.

Today Sportscenter on ESPN has a really emotional piece on this event. (If I can get that one I’ll post it later.)

Here’s an interview they did with the ladies right after it happened.

Here’s an excerpt from an article on the event:

Central entered Saturday’s doubleheader one game behind Western Oregon in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference race. At stake was a bid to the NCAA’s Division II playoffs. Western won the first game 8-1, extending its winning streak to 10 games. Central desperately needed the second game to keep its postseason hopes alive.

Western Oregon’s 5-foot-2-inch right fielder came up to bat with two runners on base in the second inning. Sara Tucholsky’s game was off to a rough start. A group of about eight guys sitting behind the right field fence had been heckling her.

“They were giving me a pretty hard time,” said Tucholsky, a Forest Grove High School graduate. “They were just being boys, trying to get in my head.”

At the plate, Tucholsky concentrated on ignoring the wise guys. She took strike one. And then the senior did something she had never done before — even in batting practice. The career .153 hitter smashed the next pitch over the center field fence for an apparent three-run home run.

The exuberant former high school point guard sprinted to first. As she reached the bag, she looked up to watch the ball clear the fence and missed first base. Six feet past the bag, she stopped abruptly to return and touch it. But something gave in her right knee; she collapsed on the base path.

“I was in a lot of pain,” she told The Oregonian on Tuesday. “Our first-base coach was telling me I had to crawl back to first base. ‘I can’t touch you,’ she said, ‘or you’ll be out. I can’t help you.’ ”

Tucholsky, to the horror of teammates and spectators, crawled through the dirt and the pain back to first.

Western coach Pam Knox rushed onto the field and talked to the umpires near the pitcher’s mound. The umpires said Knox could place a substitute runner at first. Tucholsky would be credited with a single and two RBIs, but her home run would be erased.

“The umpires said a player cannot be assisted by their team around the bases,” Knox said. “But it is her only home run in four years. She is going to kill me if we sub and take it away. But at same time I was concerned for her. I didn’t know what to do. . . .

“That is when Mallory stepped in.”

Mallory Holtman is the greatest softball player in Central Washington history. Normally when the conference’s all-time home run leader steps up to the plate, Pam Knox and other conference coaches grimace.

But on senior day, the first baseman volunteered a simple, selfless solution to her opponents’ dilemma: What if the Central Washington players carried Tucholsky around the bases?

The umpires said nothing in the rule book precluded help from the opposition. Holtman asked her teammate junior shortstop and honors program student Liz Wallace of Florence, Mont., to lend a hand. The teammates walked over and picked up Tucholsky and resumed the home-run walk, pausing at each base to allow Tucholsky to touch the bag with her uninjured leg.
“We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said. “I said, ‘I wonder what this must look like to other people.’ “

I love what Mallory says, “I wonder what this must look like to other people.”

I’ll tell you what it looks like to me.

It looks like the love of Jesus.

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