May 2, 2008

It's How You Play the Game

In an age of ridiculous (let me say it again, RIDICULOUS -adj. - very silly or unreasonable, absurd) salaries for people playing a game (is an offensive lineman really worth $57 million?) and a time when the "win at all costs" mantra seems to be the end all of sports from little league to professional (can anyone say "Spy-gate" and Belichick?) it seems that we have all lost our collective common sense. But look! There on the horizon there appears a faint glimmer of hope! Someone playing a game remembered that, at the end of the day, it was a game. They remembered there are wins and losses that will never show up in anybody's record book but that will forever shape the lives of those who experienced these moments. Such a moment occurred this week.

In a playoff game between Western Oregon University and Central Washington University's softball teams something truly remarkable happened. This event should have been trumpeted across our land as an example of the way it's supposed to be. Instead it was buried under the garbage pile of immoral salaries and the celebration of the National Brat Association's annual chest thumping contest. How refreshing it was to read about a group of ladies (and I mean that!) playing for something more than a trophy.

The short version of the story is this, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon did something she had never done in her entire softball playing career. She hit a home run. That's nice but it's not the story. As she jubilantly began running the bases she failed to touch first base and in the act of turning back to tag the bag she blew her knee out. It was a desperate situation. Unable to run or walk and, by rule, unable to receive assistance from any of her teammates she was faced with the prospect of having to call in a pinch runner and forfeit the home run. What to do?

Central Washington's first baseman, Mallory Holtman, the career home run leader in the league, asked the umpire if she and her teammates could help Tucholsky. The stunned spectators looked on as the ladies in the other colored jersey's helped the crippled home run hitter around the bases and touch home plate. In fact, the home run by Tucholsky was the game winner as her hit drove in two runs plus hers which of course means that by helping Tucholsky around the bases Central Washington was essentially conceding the game.

When asked why she did it, Central Washington's home run leading first baseman's reply was simply, "In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much. It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run." May her tribe increase.

To read the entire story go here. Be sure to share this story with someone else. May I further suggest you drop a letter in the mail congratulating and celebrating this remarkable story. Mine is going in the mail today.

Wildcat Athletics
400 E. University Way
Ellensburg, WA 98926


Katie (Maynard) Raftelis said...

Johnnie Boy,

Guess who...Katie(Maynard)Raftelis now. Cathy(Huff)Magwood gave me your blog site. I LOVE it! I am checking it everyday. You are so "deep", but so gifted to be able to relate your thoughts to every day things we experience. I love that you are so REAL! So John! I need your email address mine is I hope you read this. Love you, Miss you

Lucy Arin said...

National Brat Association nearly made me fall out of my chair. Hilarious!

I had a t-shirt as a radical college student that said, "It will be a great day when schools have all the money they need and the Air Force needs to hold a bake sale to buy a new fighter plane."

I feel much the same way about professional sports salaries.

Thanks for highlighting this, as a chronic sports-news-avoider, I wouldn't have ever seen it.

John said...


Glad to be of service in bringing you the sporting news that's worth reading. ;-) I'm glad this has gotten some good press time this week. Stories like this are what we need to hear about more often. We need some real heroes to step up and we need to recognize them. So send those cards and letters to Central Washington today!