Another great story of softball sportsmanship

A friend of mine turned me on to this story today. I think it’s one that everyone involved in our sport of fastpitch softball should read, because it’s both a positive message and the epitome of what sports can be when we take egos out of it.

The basic story is about a top-level high school softball team that had a game scheduled against an underprivileged school that was just starting a softball program. It had all the makings of a horrible blowout. But instead, the coach of the top-level school made a decision to take it in another direction. I don’t want to say more because I don’t want to give away such a heartwarming story. But it’s definitely worth a read.

Here in the Northern suburbs of Chicago there’s a team that’s very similar to the have-nots. They have very little budget, the families can’t afford good equipment or private lessons, and most of the girls have never played fastpitch softball before they step onto the varsity field. Most games end with them being run ruled by a huge score in the minimum amount of innings. Several area coaches use those games to help their kids pad their stats, and they proudly report the scores and how they got there as if it was a great accomplishment.

I hope some of our local high school coaches read this story and get an idea of something else they can do the next time their team meets the have-nots. The whole sport would be better for it.

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About Ken Krause

Ken Krause has been coaching girls fastpitch softball for nearly 20 years. Some may know him as a contributing columnist to Softball Magazine, where he writes Krause's Korner -- a regular column sponsored by Louisville Slugger. Ken is also the Administrator of the Discuss Fastpitch Forum, the most popular fastpitch discussion forum on the Internet. He is currently a Three Star Master Coach with the National Fastpitch Coaches Association (NFCA), and is certified by both the Amateur Softball Association (ASA) and American Sports Education Program (ASEP). Ken is a private instructor specializing in pitchers, hitters, and catchers. He teaches at North Shore Baseball Academy in Libertyville, IL and Pro-Player Consultants in McHenry, IL.

Posted on June 2, 2010, in General Thoughts, Sportsmanship. Bookmark the permalink. 5 Comments.

  1. Steve Nichols

    What a fantastic article and message, Ken! Thank you for sharing it. I’ve been a fan of Rick Reilly for a long time, and he presented another brings-tears-to-your-eyes message. This, plus the classy reactions to the blown call in MLB the other day, shows some things are going right with society.

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  2. Steve, totally agree on blown call too. How many umpires would admit it, and how many players would be so forgiving? They are a great example of what sportsmanship is all about. Too bad what they did is so remarkable instead of just the way things are.

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  3. Brilliant! Absolutely brilliant! And thanks for sharing, buddy! I wouldn’t have missed this for life. In a world where sportsman ship is the first casualty in any game, the kids showed that they could teach the elders and the world out there a thing or two. And what followed in community sharing and empathy was even better. I hope this story will be circulated more among youngsters who need to know winning isn’t all. There are other things that matter.

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  4. Saturday we had a pitcher totally lose control against a great hitting team and found ourselves down 11-0 in the first inning with one out. Our second pitcher of the inning managed to strike out their 15th batter of the inning. So with two outs the firstbase coach directed his runner on first to step off the base to be called out. She did this twice and the field umpire refused to call her out. Finally she remained off the base after a pitch and our catcher threw down to first where the runner was tagged out. I later found out the umpire refused to call their runner out to “preserve the integrity of the game”, whatever that is. I never heard of an umpire refusing to enforce a rule. What do you think? Was he wrong to ignore the classy gesture by the opposing team?

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  5. I’ve never heard of that either, Randy. I’ve certainly used that technique before when there was a mismatch. Sometimes you just have to get the kids off the field any way you can because it’s not going to happen on its own. I’ve actually been thanked by opposing coaches for doing it. Seems to me if you want to preserve the integrity of the game you don’t let it get out of hand. When a team offers to help out in that way you take advantage of it. That’s all a part of sportsmanship. Obviously you agree. I guess some people dream of being Cat Osterman or Derek Jeter. Others dream of being Bud Selig.

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