What is it about sports that makes adults go crazy? More often, it seems, kids – the players – have the right idea of what’s right and wrong.
We mentioned in a recent sports editorial that the Washington Interscholastic Activities Association, the sports body that governs high school sports, erred badly when it ruled that Nicole Cochran, a runner for Bellermine Prep was disqualified for stepping out of the running lanes in the 3,200 meter race at the state 4A track and field meet.
A video taken of the race clearly showed that Nicole was not the runner stepping out of bounds.
The athletes knew what was right. The girl first given the gold medal stepped off the podium and gave it to Nicole. The other girls, in turn, handed their medals to the person next to them to reflect the way the race actually ended.
The WIAA since has reversed its ruling and Nicole is now the official winner of the race.
This next one happened at the college level. I’m sure you’ve heard of it.
Sara Tucholsky, a player on the Western Oregon softball team, never had hit a home run. She got one against the Central Washington team, driving in two players ahead of her. But then tragedy struck.
While rounding first base, Tucholsky tore a ligament in her knee. She was down on the ground, in pain, with no chance to round the bases.
Umpires had decided that since Tucholsky couldn’t continue around the bases, the only option available under the rules was to replace her at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run.
Then Central Washington players Mallory Holtman and Liz Wallace stepped in.
“Excuse me,” Holtman said. “Would it be OK if we carried her around and she touched each bag?”
The umpires conferred, found no rule against it, and Holtman and Wallace carried Tucholsky around the bases, stopped briefly and lowering Tucholsky at second, third, and home so she could record the home run.
Adults have gone crazy retelling the story. Holtman and Wallace see it as no big deal: wouldn’t everyone do it? Not at the adult level, I bet.
There’s a local example, too.
At the 3A track and field state meet last month, Bellevue’s Robert Hintz took first in the javelin with a throw of 192-6.
Something else he did was even more impressive.
A competitor, Dylan Burnett-Lewis of Lynnwood, broke his javelin during the event. Hintz stepped up and offered his own.
Burnett-Lewis promptly threw the javelin 191-10 to finish second to Hintz by only 8 inches.
Hintz got the gold – and a lot more that day.