Session 2: Same (2 hours)
Light the chalice and share this quote:
Consider the following. We humans are social beings. We come into the world as the result of others' actions. We survive here in dependence on others. Whether we like it or not, there is hardly a moment of our lives when we do not benefit from others' activities. For this reason, it is hardly surprising that most of our happiness arises in the context of our relationships with others. — Dalai Lama
Share the following with the group:
There are many ways we are different. There are many ways we are the same. We all like to win. On a sunny day in May 2008, Central Washington University Women's softball team was thinking about winning their game against Western Oregon University and making it to the playoffs. A Western player, senior Sara Tucholsky, came to bat. Tucholsky, for the first time ever, hit a home run, the ball flying out of the stadium. She started sprinting around the ballpark, but didn't touch first base. While running back to touch it, she fell with a knee injury. With Tucholsky grounded at first base, the Western coach consulted the umpire. Tucholsky could be replaced by another runner. But the records would show that she got a first base run only. Her one and only home run would be lost.
Mallory Holtman, the Central player covering defense on first base, looked down at Tucholsky, made up her mind and approached the umpire. She knew Tucholsky's teammates could not help her, but, she asked the umpire, could Central players help? The umpire knew of no rule that forbade it.
So Holtman, the all-time home run leader in her conference, and her teammate Liz Wallace, picked up Tucholsky and carried her to second, to third, and home base. They made sure her foot touched each base. Not only did Tucholsky get her first home run, but Western won the game and moved into the finals.
Later, in an interview, Holtman said winning and losing were not important. What was important was the girl in pain, who had hit a home run and deserved it.
The act was celebrated all over the country as the epitome of sportsmanship. In the end, perhaps it wasn't even about the sport. It was just about being an empathetic human being. Holtman knew what it felt like to hit and score a home run. She knew Sara wanted that same feeling. Different teams, yes, but their feelings were the same.
- Can you think of an example of when it was hard to reconcile the rules of competition with your empathetic nature?
- When in competition, how do you see your opponent?
- What do you think Holtman and Wallace were feeling as they carried Tucholsky around the bases? How do you think they felt about losing the game?
- Have you ever received surprise help from someone? What was that like? Why do you think they helped you?
- Think of a time you connected with someone very different from you. What made the connection?
- Are there some differences too broad to overcome?
- Play softball.
- Act out the story, including the news reporters interviewing everyone after the game.
- Create a mural based on participants' answers to the prompt, "Think of a time you connected with someone very different from you."
- Bring out face paints and invite youth to pair with someone they don't know well to design a face painting that reflects them both. After everyone is done painting, pairs can share how they created their designs.
Extinguish the chalice. Sing a hymn of your choice.