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The Ultimate Act of Sports(wo)manship
April 29, 2008 1:49 PM   Subscribe

The Ultimate Act of Sports(wo)manship "It kept everything in perspective and the fact that we're never bigger than the game. ... It was such a lesson that we learned—that it's not all about winning. And we forget that, because as coaches, we're always trying to get to the top. We forget that. But I will never, ever forget this moment. It's changed me, and I'm sure it's changed my players." [via SportsFilter]
posted by terrapin (42 comments total) 9 users marked this as a favorite

 
Very cool story. Thanks for posting it.
posted by cerebus19 at 1:56 PM on April 29, 2008


That's pretty awesome.
posted by cashman at 2:05 PM on April 29, 2008


Jesus, that made me cry. I miss my old fencing teammates.
posted by sciurus at 2:09 PM on April 29, 2008


I know damn well that guys wouldn't do this, (and I say this as a guy,) and this is why women should be in charge of things.
posted by notsnot at 2:13 PM on April 29, 2008 [2 favorites]


Reminds me of the old days of NASCAR when the first guy to pull a man out of a burning car was usually another driver.
posted by zzazazz at 2:17 PM on April 29, 2008


Great story!

notsnot, I broke my chain at about 4:30 a.m. in a 24 hour adventure race a few months back and couldn't fix it so we were walking.

We bumped into the leading team (it was dark and rainy and muddy) a little later and one of their guys gave me a link. Not a big deal because it was near the end of the bike section, but it probably saved us about 15 minutes.

We won, and beat them by 12 minutes.
posted by dolface at 2:20 PM on April 29, 2008


I know damn well that guys wouldn't do this, (and I say this as a guy,) and this is why women should be in charge of things.

Sexist nonsense. Anyone would want to do this. Who wants to win in a cheap way? How many examples of this kind of sportsmanship in the male and female worlds of sport are there? I agree with the hero of the story, that anyone would have at least wanted to do this, but for the rules, which prohibited just awarding the homer without the trot. This story is special because the other team figured out a way around the rules that allowed them to be good sports. Good for them, nice story.
posted by loquax at 2:33 PM on April 29, 2008 [1 favorite]


I know damn well that guys wouldn't do this, (and I say this as a guy,) and this is why women should be in charge of things.

Because he wouldn't have to. Major league rule 5.10 (c) 1:

(1) If an accident to a runner is such as to prevent him from proceeding to a base to which he is entitled, as on a home run hit out of the playing field, or an award of one or more bases, a substitute runner shall be permitted to complete the play.

And it appears she didn't have to either, NCAA women's softball rule 8.5.3.2:

If an injury to a batter-runner or runner prevents her from proceeding to an awarded base, the ball is dead and substitution may be made. The substitute must legally touch all awarded or missed bases not previously touched.
posted by roquetuen at 2:38 PM on April 29, 2008 [4 favorites]


That choked me up. Thanks.

If an injury to a batter-runner or runner prevents her from proceeding to an awarded base, the ball is dead and substitution may be made. The substitute must legally touch all awarded or missed bases not previously touched.

This is what the story says:

Umpires confirmed that the only option available under the rules was to replace Tucholsky at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run. Any assistance from coaches or trainers while she was an active runner would result in an out. So without any choice, Knox prepared to make the substitution, taking both the run and the memory from Tucholsky.


I suspect the umps knew the rules pretty well.
posted by languagehat at 2:56 PM on April 29, 2008


Did they actually consult a rule book, or were they going on their own memories of the rules? I guess we'll never know. But it sounds like the rule roquetuen cited has this thing covered.
posted by goatdog at 3:02 PM on April 29, 2008


Yeah, that's awesome.
posted by m0nm0n at 3:09 PM on April 29, 2008


That's a great story. Got me all teary eyed at work, good thing I can close my door.
posted by doctor_negative at 3:15 PM on April 29, 2008


I'm sorry, but maybe I'm concentrating on the wrong part, or misinterpreting something - or I've been away from sports for too long.

But... the crowd heckles players? High school girl players? And that's accepted?
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 3:19 PM on April 29, 2008


Here's another tale of sportsmanship, this time on the high seas. Long story short: an Olympic sailor gives up chance at a medal in order to save two other sailors who were thrown overboard.
posted by mhum at 3:21 PM on April 29, 2008


That's an awesome story.

As far as the umps not knowing what they were doing, I'm not so sure. Since she failed to tag first base, and was going back to do so when she was injured, I don't know if they can technically say she was "proceeding to" first, which is what the rules cited here are stating.

I'm curious as to the rule they used, though. If there is some obscure exception for an injury while returning to tag a base you missed, it would make a great bar bet (with the added bonus of having an awesome story to tell while you're drinking the beer you just won).
posted by stefanie at 3:22 PM on April 29, 2008


But... the crowd heckles players? High school girl players? And that's accepted?

These are NCAA Division II athletes, not high-schoolers. And while I don't know what the accepted standards are for heckling in NCAA Div II women's softball today, I can tell you that the Div III men's baseball crowd at my university (almost twenty years ago) was vicious.

That is an awesome story. Thanks for pointing it out.
posted by harkin banks at 3:38 PM on April 29, 2008


It sounds to me like the rule cited states exactly what the umpires say it did - a pinch runner gets placed on first. Am I missing something?
posted by kyrademon at 3:41 PM on April 29, 2008


Good point stefanie, but technically you haven't "missed" a base until you have touched the the final base of an award, in this case home plate. So, if you hit a home run, missed first, touched second and realized your error on the way to third, you can reverse course and touch second then first and then turn around and proceed as if nothing happened. You only missed it if you touched home plate and then decided to go back. Such as situation is covered by example A.R. 7.1.1.2.6 in the 2008 NCAA Softball Rules and Interpretations. I think this is also covered in the "substitute must legally touch all awarded or missed bases not previously touched" in the rule I cited before.

I would love to hear the NCAA take on this, it is strange to have the Major League rules so clear and well known on this topic and still have ambiguity at the college level, even given the differences between softball and baseball rules.

And languagehat, I read the article, I just think they were wrong. Still a nice story.
posted by roquetuen at 3:51 PM on April 29, 2008


kyrademon: In this case, I believe the "awarded base" would be a home run, which is awarded as soon as the ball goes out and the umpire makes the signal for a home run. A runner on first makes no sense, especially if she hadn't touched first.
posted by roquetuen at 3:53 PM on April 29, 2008


It sounds to me like the rule cited states exactly what the umpires say it did - a pinch runner gets placed on first. Am I missing something?

She hit a home run, so presumably 1st through home are awarded bases.
posted by null terminated at 3:57 PM on April 29, 2008


Here's some discussion of base-running rules by Baseball Digest. Looks like this article was inspired by a play from the Red Sox 2005 season (Gabe Kapler blows out his Achilles tendon advancing to second base on a home run by Tony Graffanino in Toronto's Rogers Centre, and is replaced by a pinch runner who crosses the plate for the first time in his major league career). Not quite the same situation as in the FPP article here, though.
posted by letourneau at 4:00 PM on April 29, 2008


Huh. I guess it depends on the definition of "awarded" base, then. If it's clearly all four bases for a home run, as it is in the major league rules, then you're right. If in the NCAA rules there's a definition somewhere that says something like, "an awarded base is the last base touched or first base if no base has been touched in the event of walk, ball strike, or injury", then they were right.
posted by kyrademon at 4:06 PM on April 29, 2008


I have mixed feelings. I'm happy the opposing team stepped up to the plate so to speak, but I'm sad that our ingrained tribalism makes this occurance unusual in any way.
posted by BrotherCaine at 4:07 PM on April 29, 2008


Huh. I guess it depends on the definition of "awarded" base, then. If it's clearly all four bases for a home run, as it is in the major league rules, then you're right. If in the NCAA rules there's a definition somewhere that says something like, "an awarded base is the last base touched or first base if no base has been touched in the event of walk, ball strike, or injury", then they were right.

This phrasing:
If an injury to a batter-runner or runner prevents her from proceeding to an awarded base, the ball is dead and substitution may be made. The substitute must legally touch all awarded or missed bases not previously touched.

seems to clearly indicate that bases are awarded before they are touched.

Additionally,

12.3.5 Home plate. The batter is awarded home plate with no liability to be put
out:
12.3.5.1 When a fair batted fly ball strikes the foul pole above the fence level
or leaves the playing field in fair territory without being caught, touching
the ground or going through the fence even if the ball is deflected by a
fielder.

posted by null terminated at 5:05 PM on April 29, 2008


Well, that seems pretty clear, then. You're right.
posted by kyrademon at 5:35 PM on April 29, 2008


I know damn well that guys wouldn't do this, (and I say this as a guy,) and this is why women should be in charge of things.

What trite, simplistic, psuedo-enlightened but ultimately sexist bullshit.

In the 1956 Australian National Championship in track and field (the event that decided who would represent the home team at the 1956 Melbourne Olympics, mind you) John Landry stopped running during the 1500m finals to help when the leader of the race was clipped on the heel and fell. Remarkably, they both got back up and kept running. Even more remarkably, Landry came back to win the race. For this act - for both the amazing demonstration of selflessness and amazing feat of athletic prowess contained therein - he is widely regarded as one of Australia's greatest sportsmen.

In the 1964 Innsbruck Winter Olympics, Italian bobsledder Eugenio Monti performed not one, but two remarkable acts of fair play. During the two-man event, the British team broke a bolt that held the runners to their sled; Monti lent them one of his spares, and the Brits went on to win the event, while the Italians had to settle for the Bronze. Then, in the midst of facing down angry, clamorous criticism from the press at home, Monti learned that the Canadian four-man sled team had broken its axle and faced disqualification. Once again, Monti assisted in the repair of an opponent's sled using his own team's parts, and once again, the team he helped went on not only to beat his, but to win the gold, as the Canadian four-man sled went on to do.

And just so you know that this is neither limited to male individuals nor males in the past:

In 2004 the Mesa State College Football Team was playing The University of Central Oklahoma in the quarterfinals of the 2004 NCAA Division II College Football Championship Tournament. The game took place in the midst of a fierce Colorado snowstorm. During the game, it was discovered that the long cleats being worn by the visiting UCO players - to compensate for the treacherously slippery conditions - were, in fact, too long. According to NCAA rules, any player found to be wearing improper equipment during a game is immediately barred from competing further, a combination of factors that would have effectively eliminated the entire UCO team and forced them to forfeit. Cold, wet, tired, and presented with a golden ticket to the College Football Final Four, Mesa State huddled as a team to decide what to do. Unanimously, they decided that they would not take the easy road. They allowed UCO to change their cleats, ensuring that the game would be decided on the field by the players, not on the sidelines by a rule technicality. As the original posted story points out, in real life the endings seldom mirror those in Hollywood films; UCO went on to beat Mesa State, and they were eliminated from the tournament.
posted by ChasFile at 5:46 PM on April 29, 2008 [8 favorites]


Wow, all of you care a lot about the rules for some obscure sport.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 6:34 PM on April 29, 2008


I hate sports but I love stories about sports such as this one. Isn't it ironic...don't ya think?
posted by cazoo at 6:37 PM on April 29, 2008


Thanks for that ChasFile!

It's depressingly rare that we hear stories like that, and in a time when winning seems to have become valued above sportsman/woman/person/ship I find it incredibly inspiring to read about people who walk the talk.

In the spirit of that, here's a link to the Dirty Avocados, the team that helped me out (mentioned in my previous comment).

One of the things I really like about Adventure Racing is that rewards for sportsmanship are built into the rules.
posted by dolface at 6:49 PM on April 29, 2008


I think you're all missing the point of the article with the whole "substitution" thing. The way I read it, the coach was about to call the substitute in as rules indicated, but the other team wanted to make sure that Tucholsky herself got the honor of running in her home run herself. It's a symbolic thing, sure, but an impressive show of spirit from all involved.
posted by lleachie at 7:23 PM on April 29, 2008


lleachie

Umpires confirmed that the only option available under the rules was to replace Tucholsky at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run. Any assistance from coaches or trainers while she was an active runner would result in an out. So without any choice, Knox prepared to make the substitution, taking both the run and the memory from Tucholsky.
posted by zach4000 at 7:44 PM on April 29, 2008


this is good.
posted by LobsterMitten at 8:33 PM on April 29, 2008


Canadians, it seems are often the recipients of help in the Olympics. In 2006, a Norwegian coach handed a canadian cross country skier a pole after she broke one mid-race. The canadians won a medal, and the norwegians finished fourth.

Story here
posted by thenormshow at 9:02 PM on April 29, 2008


Great story. Thanks for posting.
posted by Argyle at 10:16 PM on April 29, 2008


NY Times story with picture
posted by Argyle at 10:18 PM on April 29, 2008


What a great story, thanks for the heads up.

and this is why women should be in charge of things.

Shut up.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 10:31 PM on April 29, 2008


I like letourneau's link- it concludes with a story about a dead man scoring a run.
posted by MtDewd at 7:07 AM on April 30, 2008


Great story!
posted by ObscureReferenceMan at 8:07 AM on April 30, 2008


Here's another story about some nice sportsmanship extended to a less-fortunate opponent.
posted by The Card Cheat at 11:21 AM on April 30, 2008




I like stories like this. There should be more of them.
posted by sandraregina at 3:48 PM on April 30, 2008


This is fucking heartwarming.
posted by redteam at 1:07 AM on May 2, 2008


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