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College Softball Provides Today’s Feel-Good Story

Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace.  Two names I want to honor today.

Saturday created what became a special moment for me today.   I only heard this story today, and every time I’ve discussed it, it has touched my heart.

There’s nothing particularly smart about what was done.  Nothing particularly successful.

But it was powerful.  At least to me.  And successful in positively impacting many.

In a women’s college softball game [1], Sara Tucholsky of Western Oregon University (Div II), hit a beautiful over the fence 3-run homer (her first in high school or college play) against Central Washington.  At first base, Sara injured her knee so severely that (according to some reports) she could not even crawl.

The umpires ruled (evidently incorrectly) that if a pinch runner were put in, they would be safe at first… no home run.

So then, the first baseman (is that politically correct?) Mallory Holtman and Short Stop Liz Wallace (the opponents mind you) proceeded to carry Sara around the bases, stopping to lower her good leg to each base, and allowing her to get the home run.

Sara’s team went on to win the game 4-2 and Central Washington was eliminated from post-season play.


There’s some amount of odd reaction to this, criticizing the Central Washington players for their actions as if they were traitors to their team and to everything our country stands for.

I believe in fighting to win and teaching our children to be competitive instead of teaching them that mediocre equals success.

But that’s not what this is about.

This is about embracing our humanity and recognizing that when one person hurts, we all (should) hurt.  When you hear the snap of a bone breaking, or see a mangled limb sitting at the wrong angle, I hope you feel a little bit of the pain that causes.  When you hear the anquished cry of a child in need, I hope your heart skips a beat.

I’m reminded of the stories of the front lines when enemy combatants in World War II exchanged brief kindness over Christmas, and even in contemporary fighting when there are brief ceasefires to allow families to take and bury their dead.  And negotiators who look for opportunities to give a little, and perhaps find a mutually successful plan.  And couples embroiled in stressful times during their marriage who when in opposition can put aside their need to be right for the sake of the other.  And parents who are overwhelmed with life but still have time to hug their child when they are sad or confused.

I love baseball, and yes, injuries happen and are part of the game.   And we should accept that.

But these young ladies put aside the competition and drive for victory which we cherish.  For just a few minutes.

And decided to make the needs of another a priority that day.

I’m glad they did.