This is Sports the Way it Should be Played

What happens when you hit a home run, but you injure yourself and cannot complete your run around the bases? The rules say that your teammates can't help you. Is there a way that you can make it home? Yes.

I hope that something like the incident below would happen in professional sports, but I don't know if it would (it would probably be more like the picture at the top of this article). Even high school sports are probably too competitive. I tend to think that male athletes would have a hard time being this sportsmanlike, but I hope I'm wrong. There are even some parents in little league sports that act like the picture above instead of the video below.

The following incident happened between two college women's softball teams and epitomizes the essence of genuine competition.

Take a look.

It would have been Sara Tucholsky's only home run of her college career. But as she rounded first base, she tore her anterior cruciate ligament, and was unable to continue around the bases. She had to make it home, but the rules said that her teammates couldn't help her. The outcome of the game could have been different if she didn't make it home. But the members of the other team felt that fairness was more important than winning.

The story reminds all of us that the next time we want to win so badly that something is much more important than winning--fair play.


  1. Thanks. That is very inspirational.

  2. I'd heard about this story last week, but that video brought tears to my eyes.

    Thanks for sharing Frank.

  3. Barbara,



    Me too. Someone from the office sent it to me, so as I watched it I tried not to let them my emotions. ;-)

  4. Good post. It is on my agenda to eventually write a post on how our society's emphasis on competition is corrosive to our culture, and how we need to emphasize cooperation (like these girls show) more if we want to have a decent world. You bring up a great example right here.

  5. Sorry to kill the warm fuzzies here (it is a touching video), but Derek's comment about emphasizing cooperation in politics makes me chuckle.

    I'm hard-pressed to find a recent example of liberal cooperation with conservatives in the same spirit of John McCain's frequent and well-documented history of crossing the aisle to get things done.

  6. Derek,

    I completely agree with you about how we need to emphasize cooperation. I would add "understanding". I think you and I and Don came to a bit of it regarding the California Same-Sex Marriage article, but perhaps not as much as I'd hoped. I think we all have a tendency to read beyond and put something into the words that are actually stated. I need to work on that myself.


    That said I agree with you (but maybe it's just one of my blind spots) that it seems like most of the cooperation happens when a conservative crosses the aisle. (Of course unless we don't exempt the Attack Iraq debacle--there was WAY TOO MUCH cooperation on that one, from both sides of the aisle.)

  7. D, I never said anything about emphasizing cooperation in politics. I'm talking making cooperation the mode of everyday life: education, business, macro-economics, etc.

    What you are referring to in politics isn't competition; its standing up for one's beliefs, not compromising just for the sake of political expediency. I have no qualms about working with conservatives, but not if it means giving into militarism, corporatism, and the agenda of the religious right, as such cooperation usually does.

  8. I love it- you have no qualms about cooperating with long as they're giving in to you.

  9. Yep. Cooperation and compromise are noble principles, but not when the people with whom you're working are driving the car headlong towards a cliff.

  10. As I've told you before, Derek, your self-righteousness never ceases to amaze me.

  11. BTW, please note again that my general complaint against competition was not political (ie, standing for principles is not competition), but social. Competition, which is about trying to "win," to be better than or to "beat" somebody, is corrosive, whether in sports, academics, economics, or any other aspect of life. Cooperation, which is about working together towards shared goals and mutual benefit, is beneficial in all aspects of life. But you can't be cooperative with someone who does not share your goals, or whose goals are harmful. You can only find others with whom to cooperate to bring about more noble goals.

  12. Derek, I understand you're talking about cooperation outside of the political arena. I tend to disagree with that as well. We should deal with each other with an overall spirit of fairness and cooperation, but competition- even fierce competition- ever has been and will be vital to this nation's prosperity.

    I'm a student of American history and I've done some time in countries that have tried to eliminate competition and I've seen and lived the results. Believe me, competition ain't the Great Satan you make it out to be.

  13. I think there are two types of competition...

    There's the win at all costs competition where you need to destroy the other team.

    And then there's healthy competition where you care about your opponent as well, but still do your best, and hope they do to.

    This video is an excellent example of that second type.

    If I may give another example. I ran a half marathon on Saturday. A coworker ran with me. We're pretty competitive, but at the same time we enjoy running together. I could have tripped her and been guaranteed a win, she could have tripped me and gotten the same for her. At the end of the day though, it didn't matter who won. We both got personal bests, and the person that got to the line first met the other with a handshake (no hugging when you're hot and sweaty!!) and a hearty congratulations.

    We need more of this kind of competition where everyone wins both in everyday life, but also in politics. It's not about who wins, it's about helping us all get to the end of the race the best that we can. All to often life turns into a boxing match, and the only way you can win is by beating your opponent into the ground.

  14. Please note that the injured player was respected by her opponents. She had played by the rules and had achieved something great. Her opponents felt that she rightly deserved credit for the home run. I'm grateful that they had the character to want the best for her.

    Is it possible to disagree with someone politically and yet still want the best for them? Is it possible to honor them when they achieve their goals when playing by the rules? I think that the answer to this can be yes.

    But politics is an odd business where the accepted rules of the game aren't codified and are often at odds with what most of us would consider good sportsmanship. I am often stunned by the attitudes of many in politics that seem to see the whole thing as some kind of grand game of power rather than a matter of principle. Perhaps I simply have my altruistic blinders on.

    When it actually does come down to principle, it is possible that someone with one viewpoint honestly feels that they are acting in their opponents' best interest by fighting against their policies. They may be mistaken about that view, but the view is understandable.

  15. Reach:

    I agree that politics has unfortunately become "some kind of grand game of power rather than a matter of principle".

    DS and Derek:

    I agree that "you can't be cooperative with someone who does not share your goals, or whose goals are harmful". But I think so often we think--before we seek to understand--that our opponent's goals are harmful, when they really are not.

    In the recent article on SUMP about the California Same-Sex Marriage case I think Derek (and Don) and I were talking past each other most of the time, not trying to understand each others' points of view, because we felt ours were the most important.

  16. You had to go and make me cry. Thanks for sharing.


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