10 Heartwarming Stories Of Sportsmanship To Brighten Your Day

If you’re feeling down, you’re going to want to see these.

1. Rowers Give Up A Medal To Help A Capsized Crew

High school rowers, James Konopka and Nick Mead were well on their way to medaling in a race last November when one of the opposing boats capsized. As this was the Philadelphia area in November with temperatures only reaching about 45 degrees, Konopka and Mead decided to abandon their medal hopes and help their opponents out of the freezing water. After the two fallen rowers were out of the water, the heroes decided that they still should finish the race. So they did.

2. Johntel Franklin’s Grieving Game

In February of 2009, high school senior Johntel Franklin’s mother died of cancer. That night his high school basketball team (Milwaukee Madison) was supposed to play Dekalb high. His coach was going to cancel the game, but Franklin wanted to play. Having been at the hospital to be with his mother when she passed, Franklin didn’t make it to the gym until the second quarter. As he wasn’t on the pre-game roster, his team received a technical foul when he entered the game, and Dekalb got two foul shots. Despite it being a close game, the Dekalb shooter twice tossed the ball softly so that it rolled to the baseline.

3. Meghan Vogel Sacrifices For An Injured Opponent

Piqua Daily Call, Mike Ullery / AP

Meghan Vogel of West Liberty-Salem High School was in last place of the Ohio DIII 3200 meter finals when the runner ahead of her, Arden McMath began to collapse. Rather than continuing past McMath and avoid a last place finish, Vogel stopped, picked up her injured competitor and carried her the final 20 meters of the race and then across the finish line. Ahead of herself.

4. Mo Cheeks Helps A Little Girl Sing The National Anthem

Young Natalie Gilbert was singing the National Anthem before a Trailblazers playoff game when she froze up and forgot the words. It’s the kind of moment that performers have nightmares about, and for her it was actually happening. But then Blazers coach, Mo Cheeks, walked over, put his arm around her, and sang the rest of the song with her.

5. Iker Casillas Asks The Ref To Blow The Whistle

Spain was murdering Italy in the final of the 2012 Euro Cup. Leading 4-0 as the match entered stoppage time (and having scored two of those goals after the 80th minute), Spain’s goalie turned to the ref and begged that he blow the whistle out of respect for Italy. The ref obliged and the game ended.

6. Paolo Di Canio Passes Up A Game-Winning Goal, Because The Keeper Was Injured

Di Canio was known for being a hot head and a bit of an ass, but when Everton’s keeper went down during stoppage time, and DiCanio’s West Ham teammate found the Italian with a beautiful cross in front of the empty net, Di Canio didn’t play the ball. He caught it, and pointed for the medical staff to treat the injured goalkeeper.

7. Oliver Kahn Consoles Rather Than Celebrates

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The Champions League is the apex of club football. The champions from the top leagues around the world compete at the highest level to determine who is truly the best team on the planet. So when Oliver Kahn’s Bayern Munich team won the 2001 Champions League Final on penalties, you would think he would celebrate. His teammates did. But Kahn walked over to Valencia’s distraught keeper and consoled him.

8. Nate Haasis Gives Up His Record

In the final game of his 2003 season, high school football star Nate Haasis set the conference record for passing yards in a career. But the final drive felt fishy to Nate. It seemed too easy. His worries were confirmed when it came out that his coach and the opposing coach had made a deal to ensure that Nate would set the record. The opposing coach said that he had his defenders put their arms in their jerseys to prevent them from tackling.

Hearing this, Nate sent a letter to the head of the conference saying, “I would like to preserve the integrity and sportsmanship of a great conference for future athletes,” and asking that his final pass not count towards his total. His request was granted and his name was removed from the record books.

9. Players Carry Their Opponent Around The Bases After She Tears A Ligament

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Sara Tucholsky had just hit her first ever home run in an important NCAA conference game. But in her excitement she missed first base. Realizing her error she turned around to touch the base, and as she did, she tore a ligament in her knee. Unable to run, the umpires told her that if her teammates or coaches helped her around the bases, she’d be out. And if she couldn’t run any further, her hit would be ruled a single. So the defense picked her up and carried her the rest of the way.

10. Matt Ziesel’s Big Run

With St. Joseph Benton trailing Maryville 46-0, the St. Joseph’s coach called a timeout and ran across the field to the Maryville coach. He had a request. He asked if Maryville would allow one of their players to score a touchdown. Hearing the details, the Maryville coach agreed, and St. Joseph’s sent out Matt Ziesel to play running back. Ziesel, who was born with Downs Syndrome loves sports and always wanted to play. That day he ran for a 70-yard touchdown as Maryville made their pursuit seem as legitimate as possible.

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