Great Moments in Sportsmanship That Hit You in the Feels
Every once in a while, we, as fans, are reminded that sports are more than unending steroid accusations and drunken brawls in the stadium bleachers.
Just when we want to lose faith in humanity, a competitor does something wholeheartedly inspiring.
This list is about the athletes and coaches who evoke the human spirit and make the world a better place. From enriching lives to moments of heartwarming compassion, the clips in this list will, if only for a moment, make you forget about Lance Armstrong, seat licenses and #SochiProblems.
Between your boss and this horrible winter weather, you've had a long week. Revitalize the soul with these great moments in sportsmanship that will hit you in the feels.
Meghan Vogel Carries a Runner Across the Finish Line
Date: June 2, 2012
Game: OHSAA Division III State Track Meet
Location: Columbus, Ohio
During the home stretch of the 3,200-meter, a runner collapsed in front of high school junior Meghan Vogel.
Vogel, who'd won the 1,600-meter title earlier in the day, could have easily added to her trophy collection by running past her struggling competitor, but she carried the girl across the finish line instead.
"I just figured I'd help her out," Vogel said after the race, "She deserved to finish ahead of me."
Mitchell Marcus Hits a Buzzer-Beater
Date: February 13, 2013
Game: Coronado High School vs. Franklin High School
Location: El Paso, Texas
With only 13 seconds remaining in a blowout win against Franklin High, Coronado High's Mitchell Marcus—a special-needs student—appeared destined to end his basketball career without a bucket.
But instead of running the clock out, Franklin High's Jon Montanez turned the ball over to Marcus and said, "Shoot it, it's your time."
Marcus took a last-second shot and sunk it.
Rival Basketball Programs Come Together
Date: March 2011
Game: Lawrence High vs. Free State High
Location: Lawrence, Kan.
Free State High's star player, Eric Watson, suffered an Achilles injury that effectually ended his high school basketball career.
On Senior Night, Free State High and bitter rival Lawrence High coordinated a touching moment by putting Watson in the starting lineup.
Watson took the opening tip in front of a raucous crowd.
Sportsmanship in a Time of Distress
Date: April 26, 2008
Game: Western Oregon University vs. Central Washington University
Location: Monmouth, Ore.
Western Oregon senior Sara Tucholsky hit the first home run of her college career and promptly tore her ACL while running around the bases.
If she'd been replaced on the field by a substitute runner, her long ball would have been reduced to a single. And if any of Tucholsky's teammates touched her, she would have been called out.
So members of the opposing team carried her around the bases.
It wasn't a pretty trot around the bags, but it was an inspiring one.
Lean on Me...
Date: February 2012
Game: Delta State University vs. Henderson State University
Location: Arkadelphia, Ark.
As you know by now, a softball player cannot be aided by teammates when she goes down on the field with an injury.
In another example of collegiate softball players being decent, compassionate players from Henderson State helped a hobbled opponent around the bases.
Referee Tries to Destroy Heartwarming Moment, Sportsmanship Prevails
Date: November 2013
Game: Al-Nahda vs. Al-Ittihad (Saudi Premier League)
Location: Aleppo, Syria
Sportsmanship begets sportsmanship in the Saudi Premier League.
After a player from Al-Ittihad helped the opposing goalkeeper tie his shoes (it's tough with those mits), a referee destroyed the endearing moment by penalizing the goalie for holding the ball too long.
Al-Ittihad was awarded a free kick, but the squad protested the call by intentionally squibbing the ball out of bounds.
It was another heartwarming tale of vigilante justice on the soccer field.
In Which Missed Free Throws Are the Game’s Biggest Shots
Date: February 7, 2009
Game: Milwaukee Madison vs. DeKalb (Ill.) High School
Location: Milwaukee, Wis.
Milwaukee Madison senior Johntel Franklin, who'd lost his mother to a bout with cancer earlier in the day, showed up to his high school basketball game against DeKalb High in the second quarter.
Because his name wasn't listed in the scorebook, Franklin was assessed a technical foul.
Despite his pleas to forfeit the free throws, DeKalb High coach Dave Rohlman was forced to send one of his players to the line. DeKalb High's Darius McNeal went to the stripe, but instead of taking the easy buckets, he missed both shots on purpose.
Later, Franklin reacted to the event by telling ESPN, "It's love. That's all it was that day was love."
No Hard Feelings for Umpire Jim Joyce
Date: June 3, 2010
Game: Cleveland Indians vs. Detroit Tigers
Location: Detroit, Mich.
After blowing a call that cost Detroit Tigers pitcher Armando Galarraga a perfect game, a tearful Jim Joyce said, "I took a perfect game away from that kid who worked his ass off all night."
Instead of piling on, Galarraga immediately forgave Joyce by saying after the game, "Nobody's perfect."
The next day, Galarraga and the umpire met at home plate to exchange lineup cards.
Junior High Wrestlers Help Restore Faith to Humanity
Date: November 2012
Event: Middle School Wrestling Match
Location: Brentwood, Tenn.
We could learn a lot from seventh-grade wrestlers Justin Kievit and Jared Stevens.
In this clip, Stevens, who has cerebral palsy, pins Klevit in a heartwarming reminder of how cool young kids can be.
The Best 75-Yard Touchdown You’ll See All Day
Date: November 2011
Game: Myrtle Beach vs. Hilton Head
Location: Myrtle Beach, S.C.
Late in the fourth quarter of a high school playoff game, Myrtle Beach and Hilton Head orchestrated a shining moment for Chip Mullen, a Hilton Head senior with Down syndrome.
After taking the ball 75 yards for a score, Mullen is greeted in the end zone by players from both teams.
J-Mac Catches Fire
Date: February 15, 2006
Game: Spencerport vs. Greece Athena High
Location: Rochester, N.Y.
Because of his autism condition, Jason McElwain hadn't seen a minute of playing time for the Greece Athena Trojans.
But that all changed when coach Jim Johnson and the team from Spencerport prearranged for the team manager to play a few minutes in a game.
McElwain missed his first shot, but he ended up scoring 20 points in total.
As one of the most memorable performances of the last decade, McElwain won an ESPY for Best Sports Moment in 2006.
"They Were Just Like Ours That Night"
Date: November 7, 2008
Game: Gainesville State School vs. Grapevine Faith
Location: Grapevine, Texas
Gainesville State School is a correctional facility for male felons. The school's football team arrives to the field in handcuffs, and every game is played on the road.
Most of the time, the team and its coaches are the only fans on the Gainesville side of the field.
But in 2008, Grapevine Faith coach Kris Hogan devised a plan to split his school's fanbase equally and welcome the boys from Gainesville with a 40-yard spirit line.
If you're having an especially rough day, watch this video to turn things around.