I read an news article on NBC Sports today. Here is the link: http://nbcsports.msnbc.com/id/24392612/
At the conference championships, a player hit the first home run of her career ever. Not only was it a home run but it went over the fence. As she was trying to tag first base, she blew her knee out and collapsed. The first base coach stated that if anyone on her team helped her, she would be called out. The umpire stated they could send in a pinch runner but then the hit would only be a single. That is when the most amazing selfless thing happened. The first baseman, who herself is the state home run career leader, asked if she could help her. Remember this is the player from the opposing team. The umpire said there was no rule against it. So this first baseman and her shortstop came over, put one of the injured players arms around each of their necks and carried her around so she could tag the rest of the bases and then to home plate. This was the winning run and the girls who carried the injured player around the bases were part of a team that was now eliminated from the play-offs. As she crossed home plate her team was crying. The first baseman said later, “In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much, It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run.”
As I read the story today, it brought tears to my eyes thinking about the girl who injured herself and the two girls that sacrificed their game for the good of someone else. These days stories like this are almost non-existent. Parents are being ejected from games for being too aggressive. Kids are taught to win at all costs. We live in a fast-food society where the most important thing is our own selfish happiness. If we don't like it give it back. If they won't take it back sue. If we don't win put up a fight and if that does not work sue.
As a mom myself with two girls who would rather be shopping for themselves, I know how hard it is to balance the desire for your child to be the best with the ability to teach them how to be selfless and put others' needs first or at least equal to their own. In competition I want my kids to be the winners but more so I want them to come away knowing that even if they have lost they played their best and the effort not the outcome is what matters.
I am a runner and now most recently a triathlete. Those sports in and of themselves are selfish sports. You are out there alone and it is your physical and mental efforts that will get you across the finish line. For this very reason, I joined Team in Training over 11 years ago. I wanted to be able to give back to those people who could not run a marathon or bike or swim. For those people who lost their battles to cancer. Now I am a coach and when I am at an event, I cross the finish line last. It does not matter how long it takes, I am out on the course until my last person crosses the finish line and then and only then do I cross myself.
I don't do this because I want to be seen as some sort of martyr, or a hero. I am a coach and I care because I can. Because I want everyone else to know what it feels like to be a winner. And for me, being able crossing the finish line of whatever race you start whether it is physical or mental makes you a winner in my book.
So I congratulate those women! Thank you for being a positive role model for my daughters.