The end game for all sports competitions is what the scoreboard says, signifying who wins and loses. But there are other ways you can walk away a winner, and that’s delivering one of the most inspirational moments in sports.
Jim Abbott’s Special No-No
Baseball isn’t a stranger to pitchers having fewer (Mordecai Brown) or more (Antonio Alfonseca) fingers on their hands, but Abbott never had a right hand. Since birth, Abbott made do with only his left hand, so it’s remarkable that he could even pitch, let alone throw a no-hitter. Abbott took the mound for the Yankees with his glove on his right arm, switching his specially designed mitt to his left hand to field his position, and retired 27 Cleveland hitters without one blemish on the scorecard.
O Say, Can You See?
Singing the national anthem is one of the most nerve-racking experiences one can face if they don’t have a background in performing arts, so it’s not uncommon to see someone stumble when they’re in front of a big crowd. There are two instances where an act of kindness lightened the mood.
When a young girl forgot the words to the song before a Philadelphia 76ers game, head coach Maurice Cheeks stepped in to coach her along, getting the audience to support the girl as she finished gracefully. The other moment came at Fenway Park, demonstrating that not all Boston fans are jerks. During Disability Awareness Day, Peter Rometti’s nerves got the best of him when singing the “Star-Spangled Banner.” Still, the Fenway faithful came together to pinch hit as a group and belted the song from their seats to help Rometti finish.
Kerri Strug Sticks the Landing
The 1996 Summer Olympics were special for Americans because it was in the homeland of Atlanta, Georgia. While many may remember the Richard Jewell fiasco, something more inspiring happened in the team gymnastic competition. The Americans had a slight lead over the rival Russians heading into the final day, depending on Kerri Strug to put the nail in the coffin with her vault.
Strug’s first attempt did not go well, under-vaulting and opening the door for Russia. But with her bum ankle, Strug used grit and determination to bring the gold medal to the U.S. after flawlessly sticking her second attempt.
Father Knows Best
Unlike Strug, some Olympians cannot finish what they started because of an unfortunate injury. This occurrence happened to Britain’s Derek Redmond at the 1992 Summer Olympics in the 400-meter semi-final. Redmond tore his hamstring during the race, causing him to pull up lame, unable to finish the race. However, Redmond’s father consoled his son, giving him a shoulder to lean on as the two crossed the finish line together.
Miracle on Ice
When something happens during the Olympics, it tends to tug on the heartstrings a little more, which is why it doesn’t get any better than “The Miracle on Ice.” During the 1980 Winter Games, the American hockey team wasn’t a legitimate threat to win the gold medal, especially since Russia was on the ice. But the game, along with the call by legendary broadcaster Al Michaels, was perfect, confirming that we should always believe in miracles.
The most inspirational moments in sports bring a tear to your eye and swell up your chest from all the good vibes. Sports continue to establish themselves as the best version of reality TV, and these examples prove that.