A Positive Note


To borrow a phrase: How about that?

Okay, so this bit isn’t earth-shatteringly important, it doesn’t deal with the problems facing our country and the world, and you could easily dismiss it as fluff. But I dare you to readthe following article and not feel a little hopeful about humanity. Go on. I dare you.

PORTLAND, Ore. – With two runners on base and
a strike against her, Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University
uncorked her best swing and did something she had never done, in high
school or college. Her first home run cleared the center-field fence.

But
it appeared to be the shortest of dreams come true when she missed
first base, started back to tag it and collapsed with a knee injury.

She
crawled back to first but could do no more. The first-base coach said
she would be called out if her teammates tried to help her. Or, the
umpire said, a pinch runner could be called in, and the homer would
count as a single.

Then, members of the Central Washington
University softball team stunned spectators by carrying Tucholsky
around the bases Saturday so the three-run homer would count — an act
that contributed to their own elimination from the playoffs.

Central
Washington first baseman Mallory Holtman, the career home run leader in
the Great Northwest Athletic Conference, asked the umpire if she and
her teammates could help Tucholsky.

The umpire said there was no rule against it.

So
Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky’s
legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. The three headed
around the base paths, stopping to let Tucholsky touch each base with
her good leg.

“The
only thing I remember is that Mallory asked me which leg was the one
that hurt,” Tucholsky said. “I told her it was my right leg and she
said, ‘OK, we’re going to drop you down gently and you need to touch it
with your left leg,’ and I said ‘OK, thank you very much.”‘

“She said, ‘You deserve it, you hit it over the fence,’ and we all kind of just laughed.”

“We started laughing when we touched second base,” Holtman said. “I said, ‘I wonder what this must look like to other people.”‘

“We
didn’t know that she was a senior or that this was her first home run,”
Wallace said Wednesday. “That makes the story more touching than it
was. We just wanted to help her.”

Holtman
said she and Wallace weren’t thinking about the playoff spot, and
didn’t consider the gesture something others wouldn’t do.

As for Tucholsky, the 5-foot-2 right fielder was focused on her pain.

“I really didn’t say too much. I was trying to breathe,” she told The Associated Press in a telephone interview Wednesday.

“I
didn’t realize what was going on until I had time to sit down and let
the pain relax a little bit,” she said. “Then I realized the extent of
what I actually did.”

“I hope I would do the same for her in the same situation,” Tucholsky added.

As the trio reached home plate, Tucholsky said, the entire Western Oregon team was in tears.

Central Washington coach Gary Frederick, a 14-year coaching veteran, called the act of sportsmanship “unbelievable.”

For Western Oregon coach Pam Knox, the gesture resolved the dilemma Tucholsky’s injury presented.

“She was going to kill me if we sub and take
(the home run) away. But at the same time I was concerned for her. I
didn’t know what to do,” Knox said.

Tucholsky’s
injury is a possible torn ligament that will sideline her for the rest
of the season, and she plans to graduate in the spring with a degree in
business. Her home run sent Western Oregon to a 4-2 victory, ending
Central Washington’s chances of winning the conference and advancing to
the playoffs.

“In
the end, it is not about winning and losing so much,” Holtman said. “It
was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she
deserved a home run.”

How about that? I got nothin’ else to say. What’s that? Tears? No, really. I’ve just go something in my eye. Shut up!

22 thoughts on “A Positive Note

  1. Dammit, where are my tissues? Great story! Our preznitial candidates could learn a LOT from these fine folks!
    Thanks for posting it!
    Elspeth

  2. Thank you… what a beautiful story! And I was feeling terribly despondent from reading all the BAD news… all the really crappy political shenanigans… the lousy cold wet weather… etc. I read something like this and think there is hope for us all — “so shines a good deed in a weary world” (Willy Wonka)

  3. Wow! I want badly to believe that, in the same position as those Central Washington girls, I would have had the character to do the same. But, I haven’t yet convinced myself. This is the example of what sportsmanship means that every coach of every team should tell their players about.
    Something is leaking from my eyes!!

  4. The first jerk that comes here and quotes the alcoholic male baseball manager played by Tom Hanks about baseball and crying from the movie “A League of one’s own” about the women’s baseball league is going to get such a nerve pinch.

  5. we don’t all suck.
    why do we have georgee? the republikkkans couldn’t do better? mcinsain? really? this is the best?

  6. We didn’t know that she was a senior or that this was her first home run,” Wallace said Wednesday. “That makes the story more touching than it was. We just wanted to help her.”
    Holtman said she and Wallace weren’t thinking about the playoff spot, and didn’t consider the gesture something others wouldn’t do.

    That’s the best part, to me. And this:
    “In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much,” Holtman said. “It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”
    I wish every pundit and politician would read this story right before they open their mouths. Take a lesson, dude: sometimes, it’s just not about you; sometimes it’s about some random person you’ve never met before.

  7. Every year I do a roundup for my paper of the year’s idiotic, ironic and just plain weird events. Every year I try to leaven it with one or two inspiring events. And a lot of years I come up dry.
    Not this year. No, not dry at all.

  8. It seems to me that if we all could treat each other in aggregate the way we would treat each other individually, great things could happen.
    Because as much as my cynical side believes this sort of thing is an aberration, the Anne Frank in me believes that people really are good at heart. There are far more Mallory Holtmans and Liz Wallaces in the world than you could imagine.

  9. Western Oregon May have won the game, but Central Washington won our hearts!

  10. damn it, i got something in my eye too. is it dusty in here? or hey, it must be these onions i’m slicing.
    this came at just the right time for me. thanks.

  11. Thanks for the heartwarming story, that truly keeps me hopeful. The Kids iz allright.

  12. I can believe this in a heartbeat. My daughter is doing graduate school in Portland. I’ve been to Portland twice. I can’t tell you how kind and generous people in Portland are. If we stopped on the street to check our map three people approached us asking, “Do you need direction?” Bus drivers, homeless people, landlords on the phone, everyone was deeply concerned that we we finding our way, had the information that we needed and wanted to know what else they could do or tell us to further our day. They gave us so much help, made us feel so welcome and were so sincere. We had this type of treatment when we lived in Madison, Wisconsin, but Portland was double scoop.

  13. I think half the reason this affects me as much as it does it that it’s a clear example of Our Potential, as opposed to the current state of our poor country.
    We, given the opportunity, want to help each other.

  14. sounds like a bunch of liberals who didn’t learn about competition growing up, because they were in one of those “everybody’s important” schools where nobody kept score. serves them right they missed the playoffs! bunch of bleeding hearts!

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