Kids These Days

kids these days sportsmanship carry injured player
kids these days sportsmanship carry injured player

We’d all like to have hard working, fantastic players that choose to do the right thing but it seems like they don’t exist anymore. Or do they?

Read how these days have great kids, and those kids just might be on your team.

In a game back on February 25, 2023, Kaitlyn Moses, catcher for Grand View University, hit a grand slam against Southeastern University. Between first and second base, Moses suffered a leg injury and fell to the ground in pain. She couldn’t get up and finish rounding the bases on her own. What next?

This was eerily reminiscent to a game years ago, in 2009, when Sara Tucholsky hit a game-winning 3 run home run for Western Oregon in the bottom of the 7th against Central Washington. It was the first home run she’d ever hit, ever – and as she started running around the bases in amazement, she missed first base. In her efforts to go back and touch first base, she busted her knee and collapsed in pain, crawling to touch first base

As Tucholsky lay there, unable to move, the umpires ruled that if she had a pinch runner, the 2 base runner’s runs would count but Sara’s hit would only count as a single. That’s when Mallory Holtman, the first baseman for Central Washington, asked if it would be OK if they carried Tucholsky around the bases. The umpires said they’d never heard of anything like it before but that it would be legal.

So Holtman and shortstop, Liz Wallace picked up Sara in a fireman’s hold and carried her around the bases, gently lowering her so she could touch each base along the way. This incredible act of kindness and sportsmanship was made even more amazing by the fact that Sarah’s homerun was enough to not only beat Central Washington, but to eliminate them from the playoffs! And yet they did it anyway.

When Holtman was asked why she did it, why she offered to carry Sara around the bases, her response was that Sara deserved the homerun, that she’d hit the ball over the fence and deserved to have her homerun.

Fast forward to February 25. Southeastern players Chapel Cunningham and Leah Gonzalez lifted Moses up and carried her across three bases. They made sure to tap her foot on each base, pushing their opponent ahead in a game they would end up losing 7–4.

When asked why she did it, Gonzalez said, “Me and Chapel were like, ‘Girl, don’t you worry. You deserved that. You hit the ball, injuries happen. We’re here for you.” “I just knew it was the right thing to do,” added Cunningham. “Here at Southeastern they teach us, or especially on our team, they try to tell us to do the thing that ought to be done and I knew that that was what we should do, so we didn’t really think twice.”

Here are my take-aways from these two displays of incredible unselfishness and doing something because it is “the right thing to do”:

  1. These are really amazing acts of kindness, sportsmanship and courage that came from players that definitely fall into the “kids these days” category.
  2. None of us really know how we’d react in a situation like this or how our players would handle it only that we’d hope we could be as amazing as the Central Washington and Southeastern players.
  3. Kids these days really can be amazing as this story shows. After all, it’s from this generation of kids that someone will no doubt discover the cure for cancer, a more efficient and less costly energy source, the ability to feed millions in starvation-ridden countries, and many other incredible things.
  4. As Americans we’re very competitive and love winners. We also love to hear stories of courage as they remind us of what’s good in all of us, what we’re all capable of, how good can triumph over evil, and how heroes can put others welfare in front of their own. These stories gained national coverage because they really show how players put an opponent’s well-being ahead of their own, for no reason other than to help her.
  5. Let’s all coach our players to give their best, to support their teammates and to always do the right thing!

For information on solving team chemistry issues check out our book A Coaches Guide to Creating Team Chemistry.

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