Athens, GA (May 1, 2008) - Friend and colleague Rocky Oliver turned me on to this incredible story of sportsmanship and respect out of Western Oregon University, A Division II school.
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.
Rocky said in his post:
"With so many athletes having a "me first" attitude, there really aren't many great role models left. These girls are the very definition of good sportsmanship and good role models."
I will go further. If these young women are not recognized in the next edition of the ESPY's or considered for selection as Sports Illustrated Sportswomen of the Year, then our sense of values and the importance of athletes as role models is seriously twisted.