This week's Sports Illustrated updates the story of Sara Tucholsky, a Western Oregon softball player who injured her knee while rounding the bases after hitting her first ever home run. The remarkable nature of the story isn't her home run, but the act of sportsmanship by Central Washington University players Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace who carried Tucholsky the rest of the way around the bases so her homerun would count. Here's the full story.
Now read the SI follow up story about what happened as a result of their act of sportsmanship.
Money poured in after the game, along with candy from strangers. Gary Frederick's team got nearly $25,000 in donations, including at least one check from a soldier in Iraq. The university matched every dollar. The Wildcats got new uniforms for 2009 and new protective screens for pitching practice. Instead of riding to away games in three vans driven by the coaches, they were chauffeured around the Pacific Northwest in a luxury charter bus.
Mallory wants to be Central Washington's next head softball coach, whenever Frederick, who turns 72 in July, decides to retire. In the meantime she and Sara have formed a nonprofit organization, the Mallory Holtman and Sara Tucholsky Sportsmanship Defined Foundation, with the aim of doling out scholarships and teaching kids the right way to play. They have a publicist and a booking agent. Corporations pay them to deliver motivational speeches, including a recent appearance in Florida to educate five or six thousand mortgage brokers on character and responsibility.
Her mother says fame has not changed Mallory, not in the least, but Mallory does admit to one prima donna moment. Last summer, when they were on vacation at a cabin in Idaho, Christy asked Mallory to take out the trash. Mallory had just returned from several plane rides—from a televised awards show to the All-Star Game and back—and she complained about being tired.
"Mallory," her mother said, "you're with family now. You need to check yourself." And Mallory took out the trash.
In July of last year, the girls were honor by ESPN with the ESPY award for Best Sports Moment. Good choice.
Sports is a venue where simple acts of sportsmanship, heroism and courage can shine a light on the more complex aspects of our lives. We can see that people will do the right thing, will act in a self-sacrificial way, and will act heroically. This is a great story made better by the realization that Mallory wasn't grandstanding her sportsmanship. She was just doing the right thing.