In April of 2008, two small colleges squared off for a Great Northwest Athletic Conference softball game. Both Central Washington University and Western Oregon University were desperate for a win to ensure a trip to the playoffs. So this was more than your average conference game. But little did anyone there know, they were about to witness one of the most amazing displays of sportsmanship any of them had ever seen.

In the second inning, WOU senior right fielder Sara Tucholosky stepped up to the plate with two runners on. The season was almost over, so this was potentially the last at-bat of her career. And she made sure to make it a memorable one, as she crushed a home run to left field.

But in the excitement of it all, she had missed first base. She turned around to go back, but in doing so felt a sharp pain in her knee and went to the ground. She tried to get back up but couldn’t. And that’s when she knew – she had torn her ACL.

She was not going to be able to round the bases, which means the home run would not count. A pinch runner would have to come in for her and it would count as a single. Sara was devastated and the crowd knew this woman had just been robbed of a major life memory. What happened next no one could have predicted.

Central Washington’s first baseman, Mallory Holtman, knew Tucholosky hit a home run fair and square. And she wasn’t about to see that taken away from her, regardless of the fact that she was her opponent. The rules say a teammate can’t carry someone around the bases… but they don’t say anything about opponents doing it.

Mallory and her teammate Liz Wallace put Sara around their shoulders and began carrying her around the bases, dipping her slightly at each one so she could touch the base. The crowd was blown away by the sportsmanship. They couldn’t believe someone from the other team would do something like that, especially given the fact that Central Washington eventually lost the game 4-2!

But sometimes, in sports, there are more important things than winning. And amazing displays of sportsmanship like this one from Mallory and Liz, just go to show you how many valuable life lessons our children can learn from team sports. Which is what ESPN thought too when they awarded the girls an Espy for their inspirational story!

Truly incredible.