Saturday, May 3, 2008

You Call This Teamwork?

What kind of teamwork is this? Crazy? Nuts? Unheard of.

When 21 year old Sara Tucholsky, a senior at Western Oregon smacked a three-run homerun,
(her first collegiate homer) against rivals Central Washington, she could not have imagined the chain of events that it would have caused.

Watching the ball sail through the air, she missed touching first base and when she turned back to tap the the bag her right knee gave out and she collapsed in pain. According to the rules of play, no one on her Western Oregon team could touch or help the stranded
Tucholsky, as this would have caused her to be unable to advance around the bases. The umpires said that if Tucholsky could not go around the bases, two runs would score but she would be only credited with a single.

Then Mallory Holtman, the first baseman for Central Washington, asked the unspeakable, something so unthinkable that it must have come from her very core:
“Excuse me, would it be okay if we carried her around and she touched each bag?”

The umpires conferred and said it would be within the rules of play. Holtman and the Central Washington shortstop, Liz Wallace, lifted Tucholsky and carried her to second base, lowering her enough so that she could touch each base until she touched home plate where she was greeted with a standing ovation. This unbelievable gesture of sportswomanship left athletes and fans alike in tears and admiration.

Not only did
Central Washington help the other team score three runs, they helped Western Oregon win the second game, 4-2, and sweep the doubleheader. Can you imagine something like this happening at your office amongst two separate teams or functions? One team helping the other when they were struggling creating a stronger 'whole'?

Once, many years ago I was playing on our company softball team and I smacked a line drive ball back to the pitcher, hitting her in the throat. I stood there frozen wanting to help her and eventually did but my teammates were screaming at me to run to first base. How could I possibly have done that when the poor young woman couldn't even breathe?

I think there is a lot to be said about 'we're all in this together.' Of course, competition is necessary in a free-market economy but not at the expense of someone's health and or wellbeing. When was the last time your competition called you and said 'let's meet for lunch to discuss how our industry is helping to create a better world for everyone'? You'd probably fall off your chair. I can however, imagine the
Western Oregon and Central Washington woman softball players meeting to discuss fair play, sportsmanship and helping women sports grow to where they are accepted, respected and paid just as male athletes.

Three cheers to the
Central Washington woman softball team!
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