Unsung Heroes: Two Touching Stories of Sportsmanship and Humanity

By , SparkPeople Blogger
"There are victories of the soul and spirit. Sometimes, even if you lose, you win." - Elie Wiesel

In today’s society bad behavior is headline news; nevertheless, we should never underestimate the impact one simple act of kindness can do to change the world. Day after day there are countless news stories of those individuals who have taken the wrong path in life. But hope is not lost after you read the incredible and touching story between two high school softball teams and the bond they developed in the name of sportsmanship and humanity.

To give you a little background, earlier this spring the Roncalli High School's Girls' Softball Team from Indianapolis, Indiana, a team who had not lost a single game in the last 2 1/2 years, was scheduled to compete against Marshall Community school. From all outside appearances it was just another game between two teams. However, the two teams could not have been any more diverse when it came to skills on the field.

The Roncalli team realized prior to the first pitch that their opponents were not prepared to play. They could tell by the comments and actions of the players and coaches that the Marshall Community team did not understand the fundamentals of the game. So, the Roncalli team decided to forfeit the game to avoid humiliating the Marshall team, even if that meant breaking their winning streak. In the spirit of true sportsmanship, Marshall did not want to quit, but they finally relented only when the Roncalli team offered to use the time to teach them how to play the game. The two teams spent the next two hours practicing everything from pitching, to batting, to how to run the bases, even how to put on the catching gear.

The act of sportsmanship did not stop there. Roncalli JV coach Jeff Traylor then asked the parents of his players to donate used equipment and money to help aid the Marshall Community team. The request was met with an unbelievable amount of donations. This one small act of kindness not only changed the lives of all these young ladies, but it inspired Reebok and the Cincinnati Reds to get on board to help as well. This story reminded me of another heart rendering story from 2008 when a college softball player hit her first home run of her college career and ended up injuring her knee running the bases. Unable to run the distance required to score for her team, hope seemed lost. After she was told that if her teammates tried to help her around the bases she would be called out, the situation grew dim.

In one of the most touching acts, the Central Washington University players asked the umpire if they could help their opponent around the bases. Because no such ruling existed, they were given the go ahead; so the players carried Sara Tucholsky around each of the bases allowing her team, Western Oregon University, to score. The Central Washington University softball team went on to lose the game and thus losing the conference knocking them out of the playoffs. But what a beautiful legacy these young women left behind. Even two years later, I am so touched by their unselfish act of kindness. It shows there is good in all of us if we just put our ego aside

We all have the opportunity to do what is right, not because we are going to have our names splashed across the newspaper or on television, but because we care about our fellow man regardless of their ethnicity, social status or educational background. We truly can change the world by one simple act of kindness at a time even if that means we do not win.

How do reading stories like these make you feel? Do you feel the media puts too much emphasis on reporting the negative behavior? Would you be willing to forgo winning if it allowed someone else to live his/her dream?

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Stories like this definitely touch my heart. These are the kind of athletes that we should admire, not the type who are willing to do anything to win, including using drugs. If I was in their shoes, I would for sure be willing to forgo winning one game to help someone out. Report
We need at least one story like this every day. Fine girls. Report
Stories like this one renews one's faith in today's youth. Just wish more of them would fellow and walk in the footsteps of this team and others commented on by others in this blog. It is really too bad these events are special enough to be considered special news pieces. Why can't things like this be a natural everyday occurence? Report
Inspiring stories indeed. Because of the way news is conveiyed, we forget that there are so many kind actions happening all the time. They are just not front page material. Thanks for focusing them today! Report
I saw the video of the home run story at my daughter's HS sports night. I don't think there was a dry eye in the room! If that isn't the definition of good sportsmanship, I don't know what is. Report
Thank you for sharing!! It reminds me of the kids from a local High School who volunter at my daughters school. They learn how to deal with children with all types of impairments. It is really nice to see the good in people!! Report
I did get teary eyed. I find it so refreshing to hear stories like this, especially in our doggy doggy world where "win at any cost" is a staple. I applaud all these young women and men. Report
What a wonderful and uplifting blog, I almost cried! Thanks for sharing! Report
Link to a story about this truly great event
There are lots of good stories. Report
It is always uplifting to hear stories about true sportsmanship in a day and age when winning seems to be the most important thing to most people. Kudos to these young people! Their kindness will surely be repaid sometime! Report
My daughter will finish up her micro league softball season this Saturday. She's learning to throw and hit, but most importantly she starting to learn about being a team player and a good sport. Report
Thank you for sharing this beautiful story Report
Aw man, this thing made me cry. Yes, I do think that the media spends too much time portraying the negative things in the world, and that maybe if the showed something positive every ten minutes, the world might be a better place. Report
Both of these stories demonstrate that loving caring people do exist. The media tries to draw us in with negative or horrific stories. The positive stories help me to stay motivated and show the true nature of the human spirit. As both of these stories tell us that even with the pressures of winning, the true nature of sportmanship still extists. Report
My personal opinion is that the media views the "negative" as news - which focuses our energy on the negative drawing it to us. Where as if we focus on the "POSITIVE" that energy will be drawn to us and make us all better individual, thus improving society in general. Report
I love both of those inspiring stories. I love when people care about and take care of one another. =) Report
What great stories! Wish we heard more about these types of instances on the news instead of all the killing, hate, OIL. ugh. Report
that was truly an inspiring story, and so nice to read, rather than the stories of selfish players or ones who squander their talent...thanks for putting a smile on my face and giving me hope that there are still good people out there ;) Report
I think this shows some wonderful leadership skills, not just for the girls, but also for the coaches who have worked so closely with them. We need to lift up people like this; support them and encourage them so they have the opportunity to influence more young people! Report
I absolutely love both of these stories. I remember the second one from the news last year and it warmed my heart. the news is so dismal most days, and stories like these make the day seem a little brighter. thank you for sharing! please keep these kind of feel-good articles coming! Report
I LOVE human interest stories - the human spirit is truly amazing!! I wish they would flood the news with these kinds of stories instead of how many times a 'movie star' has been in rehab or is going for the 10th time.

Thanks for the uplift!! Report
BEAUTIFUL. It does give us all hope for the future. I know the evening news has started doing a "making a difference" story at the end of their broadcast and I think that is the best part of the news. Wish they showed more of this as I believe it would generate more goodness in our world. Report
I just wish the media would report on happenings like this instead of focusing on inhuman instances. The world just might be a kinder place to live in. Report
How very uplifting! What struck me as very significant is the fact that both these stories of selflessness and sportsmanship centered on the actions of young women! Hmmmm....another positive takeaway! Report
thank you for including this.... it was truly touching. I think that I will find a point to share this stories with my students! Report
Recently a local soccer group announced the idea that if you win a soccer game by too many points you will have the points decducted from your total score. The idea was to encourage the underdogs. They have many competitive and skilled teams playing against teams that are unskilled and playing only for fun. One parent angered said "what, should we ask our kids to pass the ball to the opposing team after our kids score?" Yes, was my response. Because they never even GET the ball when your team plays. The support for the idea has been underwhelming. People claim the point of the game is lost and there will be no incentive. Perhaps they should try it first and let the PLAYERS comment rather than the bistanders. I think there is something to be gained by pulling each other along towards the finish line. Report
Thank you. You have just renewed my faith in human nature. When all I hear is the horrible, depressing news on radio and t.v., this was like a breath of fresh air!! Report
These stories bring tears to my eyes! This is the type of sportsmanship I try to instill on my kids. Report
I think more team sports should be about the human spirit. Who ever said we had to fight and hate each other in order to win a game. My son played basketball for 4 years in grades 1-4. That last year became all about winning for the coaches and administrators. Many of the players (those who weren't the star players) were sitting on the bench feeling less than good about that. The star players were being used like donkeys in order to win and most of the time they were losing because of exhaustion. When I spoke with the coach about it he said- that's the way it is, they had to get to the championship game. At certain game (depending on the team they were playing) the police had to be present because if that team loss, they wanted to fight. What? What are we teaching our kids? So I chose to take my son out of that environment.
There's a great website HelpOthers.org that is a great place to read about people giving back and doing acts of kindness for others.

Ya gotta love the young. Here they are again, showing us the way! Report
There are periods in my life I feel distrustful and wary, of those around me. Suddenly, an individual will do something such as allow me to safely cross a street, or smile when I need one. These seemingly random acts of kindness restore my faith in humanity. I believe if more positive things were empasized the world we live in would be much more joyful. Report
I remember hearing about both of these stories when they happened. It is not always about winning Report
I was very impressed with these two stories. They were both heart warming. We need more of these types of stories and less of the negative behavior ones. The world would be a much better place if we each helped just one person. Report
Well, these particular incidents were covered in the media.

I think that part of the trend toward the negative in the media is because it's often the negative that calls for people to be informed urgently. Of course, there are cases (such as with celebrities) that it's just because that's what a lot of the public falls all over themselves to watch.

There certainly are news programs that go out of their way to include positive stories, such as "person of the week" segments and similar things. Report
We need to hear more stories like this! Thanks for sharing! Report
the media absolutely only focuses on the negative-in EVERYTHING! being an Army girlfriend (as well as friend to many in all the different branches) I stopped watching coverage on the wars a long time ago knowing that I was only going to see the negatives and none of the positives. I love stories like these and they are definitely too hard to find when going through typical media outlets Report
I teach at Western Oregon, and the generosity and sportsmanship of the CWU team are still a hallmark of our community's memories. It humbled every member of our many athletes to realize that there were such people among their 'enemies'. Locally, it has also provided a needed reminder (for some of our coaches) that competition is NOT the point, or not the only, the main, point of playing games. That's why they call it "playing," after all. Report
The essence of sports is not winning or losing. Rather, it is the development of ones' character and integrity. Report
These two stories tell the true heart of an athlete. Unfortunately we do not always see it in the professional players. It is there but we do not always get a chance to see it. I can't tell you how many times I have seen this same type of story at the high school level. Wish the news had more of these positive stories, Report
These stories are a breath of fresh air! There is still kindness left in the world!! Report
Acts of kindness are lifegiving. When we forget about me and reach out to others we become winners. It's very Spark people also. Report
Thankfully there are still people out there, happy to help others and show kindness and love regardless of the outcome. It is encouraging. I rarely, if ever, watch the news as it is way too depressing. Report
I don't watch the news and not much TV period, for this reason, (People are depicted so badly). I would LOVE to watch a news show that reported Only ( or mostly) the GOOD that we humans are capable of. Who knows maybe we would even try to do better as a result. ; ) Report
If all we ever listened to was the news we would be in such a state of depression that we'd never crawl out. I love stories like this, and I bet there are thousands of them out there, because basically, people are good and this just proves that. Report
I would give up winning in a heartbeat to help someone else. The news makes it appear there is not enough kindness in this world. Report