The Most Heartwarming Videos in Sports

Nick Dimengo@@itsnickdimengoFeatured ColumnistApril 26, 2013

The Most Heartwarming Videos in Sports

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    Though we always try to remind ourselves that it's just a game, sports have given us plenty of moments that made us shed a tear.

    That's what makes being a fan so great—those moments where the game itself is a relief from all the other things going on around the globe, bringing people together.

    Seeing fans back at Fenway in light of the Boston Marathon explosions last week got us thinking about some of the other heartwarming moments we've seen over the years.

Derek Redmond and His Dad

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    As a favorite to win Olympic gold in the 400-meter sprint at the 1992 Barcelona Games, sprinter Derek Redmond pulled up with a torn hamstring in the semifinals, crushing his chances at medaling.

    Not to be torn down, he continued to limp toward the finish line, in anguish with each step.

    Out of nowhere, his dad, Jim Redmond, broke through security and trotted with his injured son around the track.

    The Redmonds may have finished last, but with the emotional moment, they etched their names into Olympic history, with Jim Redmond even named a torchbearer for last year's London Olympics.

Maurice Cheeks Belts It Out

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    If you've ever tried to sing the national anthem, you know remembering the words can be pretty damn tricky.

    Imagine what any singer goes through, though, if he or she forgets the words while performing in front of thousands of sports fans?

    That happened to 13-year-old Natalie Gilbert, who went numb and stuttered to finish the tune.

    Lucky for her, then-Blazers coach Maurice Cheeks came to her assistance, wrapping his arm around her to help compose her and finish the song.

Blind Barcelona Fan

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    It's hard enough to distinguish who's who on a soccer team with so many guys running around the pitch and sporting similar looks.

    So it's even more impressive when one of Barcelona's biggest fans—who also happens to be blind—is able to do it fine by just a single touch.

    Though this kid can only listen to his favorite team's matches, it doesn't stop him from making sure he's always there to cheer them on.

Central Washington Softball Players Carry Opponent

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    Western Oregon University's Sara Tucholsky had just hit her first-ever home run in her collegiate softball career, so you can imagine her excitement as she rounded the bases.

    Overwhelmed, she actually missed first base while rounding the bases, and while going back to touch it, she tore a ligament in her knee.

    Had she stopped there, her hit would have been ruled a single.

    In an amazing show of sportsmanship, players from the opposing team picked Tucholsky up and carried her around the other bases and to home plate.

    The moment earned the participating players an ESPY for "Best Moment" in 2008.

Paolo Di Canio Stops Play

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    Former Italian soccer player and current Sunderland manager Paolo Di Canio is known as a bit of a hothead.

    But while playing for Premier League club West Ham United, he made headlines for doing the right thing.

    Catching a cross played into the box in extra time of a tied game, Di Canio caught the ball to signal to officials that the opposing keeper, Everton's Paul Gerrard, was down outside his box.

    For his efforts, Di Canio earned the FIFA Fair Play Award for the season.

Jimmy V at the ESPYs

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    While we're too young to remember the greatness of former N.C. State coach Jimmy Valvano, we certainly all know the impact he's had on sports.

    Thanks to former coaches, colleagues and friends, ESPN hosts the ESPYs each summer, honoring the year's greatest moments in sports, and donates proceeds to the V Foundation for cancer research.

    We know it's over 10 minutes long, but by about the third minute of his speech, we bet you've got some tears falling down your face.

Jason McElwain Makes It Rain

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    Speaking of the ESPYs, what a moment for then-high school student Jason McElwain, who earned himself one of the awards following his remarkable display of shooting during his school's basketball game.

    Playing in his first and only varsity contest, the autistic boy drained six three-pointers in the final four minutes of the game, scoring 20 total points in his team's win.

Chip Mullen's Touchdown

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    Born with Down syndrome, Chip Mullen didn't let that impact his goal of scoring a touchdown for his high school football team.

    With his Hilton Head team being blown out 64-10 by opponent Myrtle Beach, Beach's head coach Mickey Wilson gave the thumbs-up across the field to give the kid a shot.

    As the last play of the game, the entire defense ran after Mullen all the way to the end zone as he crossed the goal line for the final score.

    Talk about some great sportsmanship.

Meghan Vogel Lends a Hand

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    There aren't too many people who volunteer to finish last in things.

    But for former West Liberty-Salem High School runner Meghan Vogel, she didn't mind one bit doing it during a race in the 3,200-meter finals.

    After seeing her opponent Arden McMath collapse in front of her, Vogel stopped to assist McMath and carry her across the finish line—allowing the girl to finish ahead of her and accepting last place.

The Faile Family

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    Though college football is huge everywhere around the country, SEC football on Saturdays stops everything and divides houses, relationships and offices.

    So to see this touching moment where a military family gets a special message from their dad over the Jumbotron in front of South Carolina's packed house really puts things in perspective a little bit.

Jared Stevens Wrestling

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    Living in Brentwood, Tenn., when this hit the news waves, we're pretty familiar with the story of Jared Stevens.

    Born with cerebral palsy, Jared loves to play any and all sports, like most middle school kids.

    He participated on his school's football team in the fall, and the wrestling coaches asked him to come out for the team during the winter. He obviously accepted their offer.

    Pinning his opponent must have been a real joy for the little guy.

George W. Bush's First Pitch

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    On a cold night in the Bronx before Game 3 of the 2001 World Series, it didn't matter what your political views were, or if you loved or hated former President George W. Bush.

    All that mattered was that you were an American and cheered the guy on as he tossed out the first pitch.

    And wouldn't you know it, he fired a strike right down the middle.

Todd Frazier's Home Run

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    Occurring just a week or so ago, Reds infielder Todd Frazier had to fulfill quite a large request from bat boy Ted Kremer, who was born with Down syndrome.

    Before heading to the plate, Kremer told Frazier, "C’mon, hit me a home run, I love you."

    Not wanting to let him down, Frazier got his pitch and blasted it to dead center, clearing the wall, and then celebrated with the bat boy in the dugout.

    It reminds us of another home run promise made by a guy named Kramer.

Jack Hoffman's Touchdown Run

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    Imagine the strength seven-year-old Jack Hoffman has to have each day knowing that he has to fight brain cancer.

    To continue to appreciate the small things, have a continued innocence and not worry about what lies ahead is pretty cool to see.

    What's even cooler is when his favorite team invited little Jack to participate in its spring football game this year.

    Naturally, the Nebraska Cornhuskers helped Jack run 69 yards for a score.

    (Check out East Carolina and Noah Roberts for an equally great moment a few weeks later.)

Daniel Nava's Home Run

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    With the Red Sox trailing in the eighth inning of the first game played in Fenway since the Boston Marathon explosions, who would have ever thought that a guy with 10 career jacks would hit one of the most significant home runs the park has ever seen?

    The crowd went as crazy for Nava's homer as any of the other famous round-trippers in the park, with the best part coming as the announcer said, "Boston, this is for you."

    Gets us every time.