Sportsmanship of the Decade

Last week I stumbled across this list of acts of sportsmanship over the last decade. Many of them I had heard of when they happened -- and they made me cry the first time and this time, as well. Of course, I had to point these out to my athlete-children, and I hope you will to yours, as well. I don't include all of them, here, only my favorites:

April 26, 2008: In the top of the second inning, Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky hit a pitch over the left field fence with two runners on against Central Washington, for whom a loss would mean elimination from a possible NCAA Division II playoff berth. But when Tucholsky rounded first base, she accidentally missed the bag. As she doubled back to touch it, her cleats stuck in the ground and she tore the ACL in her right knee.
While Tucholsky writhed on the ground in pain, the umpires consulted the rule book and declared that if any of her teammates aided her around the bases, she would be called out. Central Washington's senior first baseman, Mallory Holtman, her school's career leader in homers who was facing her final collegiate game if her team were to lose, had an idea: She would help her opponent round the bases. Holtman locked eyes with shortstop Liz Wallace and the two of them picked up Tucholsky and carried her, dipping the stricken runner at each base so she could touch the bag and complete the home run that she had rightfully earned.

November 7, 2008: Grapevine Faith, a small Christian school in suburban Dallas-Fort Worth, was hosting an unusual opponent: Gainesville State School, a maximum-security correctional facility for teenaged male felons. Gainesville plays all of its games on the road, and its students, who arrive in handcuffs, use old equipment. Grapevine Faith's coach, Kris Hogan, created a welcoming environment by splitting his school's fans and cheerleaders into nearly equal groups. When Gainesville's players got off their bus, they were greeted with a 40-yard spirit line and a "Go Tornadoes" banner for them to run through at the end. Their designated "fans" even cheered them by name. Faith won, 33-14, but Gainesville's players raved about their treatment. In the postgame prayer circle, one said, "Lord, I don't know how this happened, so I don't know how to say thank you, but I never would've known there was so many people in the world that cared about us."
Extended article here (amazing).

October 15, 2005:
Mount Gilead High sophomore Van Houten shot 144 over two rounds to win the Ohio Division II golf tournament by six strokes. After signing his scorecard, however, Van Houten double-checked his rounds and realized that he had recorded the 10th hole one stroke better than he had actually scored. For Van Houten, this meant that he had had actually defeated the field by five strokes, rather than the six he was credited for. The stroke in question would have no bearing on the competition, only on Van Houten's conscience, so he reported the error even though he knew that a card signed with an incorrect score disqualifies the player. Thus, Van Houten lost the tournament and his state title.

February 7, 2009: The basketball teams at Milwaukee Madison (Wisc.) and DeKalb (Ill.) high schools were scheduled to meet, but earlier that day Madison's senior captain, Johntel Franklin, lost his mother to cancer. Franklin's coach, Aaron Womack Jr., planned to cancel the game, but Franklin insisted that his team play,and appeared at the gym in the second quarter, directly from the hospital. Womack called timeout so his players could greet their grieving teammate. Franklin asked if he could play, but his name and uniform number had not been entered into the scorer's book. Doing so would cost his team a technical foul. DeKalb asked the referees to overlook the rule, but they insisted on following the book. DeKalb's coach, Dave Rohlman, asked for a volunteer to take the free throws. McNeal shot the ball two feet. His second shot didn't go even that far. Madison's players and the crowd stood and applauded. Once the game resumed, Franklin scored 10 points and helped Madison to a 62-47 win. "I did it for the guy who lost his mom," McNeal told the Milwaukee Journal Sentinel. "It was the right thing to do."

Now that we have had to be inundated with Tiger's off-course activities and too many other sports atrocities, it is so nice to see young people in sports acting so honorably on the courts and fields.


Speaking Thru Me Ministries said...

Thx for posting these. I can't wait to share these with my athlete kids too. Yes, they made me cry as well!! Thx again! Leigh


Loved this, good sportsmanship and the videos. :)

Roxanne said...

Loved these.

Anonymous said...

The first one really made me cry. A lot.

Thanks for posting these!

Lisa Laree said...

Great post, Sarah! thanks!

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