Wednesday, April 30

What a great example

I came across this story today. It's a fantastic display of good sportsmanship, and could serve as an answer to the man who asked Jesus, "who is my neighbor?"

The women's softball team from Western Oregon was playing conference rival Central Washington. The teams are battling for first place in the conference. The conference champion gets a bid to the NCAA Division II tournament. Neither team has ever been to the tournament before, so it was a huge game.

5' 2" Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky, who entered the game with only 3 hits in 34 at bats this year came up in the second inning with two runners on. She launched the second pitch over the fence for the first home run of her career.

She was so excited about the home run and giving her team the lead that she didn't touch first base. When she stopped to go back to touch it, her knee gave way. The suspect she tore her ACL. She was left laying in a heap by the first base bag.

According to the umpire's interpretation of the rules, if any of her teammates or coaches helped her, she would be out. About the only option would be for her to crawl back to first base, where she could be replaced by a pinch runner. But then her 3-run home run would be turned into a 2-run single.

That's when Central Washington senior Mallory Holtman said, "excuse me." She asked if it would be okay for her to carry her injured opponent. Since it wasn't assistance from a teammate, it was within the rules. So Holtman and another Central Washington player carried Tucholsky around the bases, and let her gingerly touch each base. When they got her to home plate, they handed her off to her waiting teammates and coaches.

In a crucial game against a rival, it would have been easy to stand by and do nothing but think how unlucky Tucholsky was. Doing nothing would have been better for Central Washington. But ding nothing wasn't the right thing to do.

Sometimes doing the right thing, and doing the thing that demonstrates love for our "neighbor" means doing things that aren't in our own best interests. I hop that when I am faced with these kinds of situations I'll react like Mallory Holtman did.

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