Last summer the softball team I play on was invited to participate in a national tournament in Shawnee, Kansas. During the first game a girl on the other team hit a line drive to left field. My teammates were yelling to me in the outfield “back, back, back!” I turned and ran, but the ball kept going, until it landed on the other side of the fence.
I put my arms in the air to signal that the ball was out of play. At the same time, I saw my coach come out onto the field with a disappointed, angry look on his face. He asked me if I was sure the ball had actually gone over the fence, instead of bouncing over it after hitting the ground once, or rolling underneath it. It would have been easy to say that either of those things had happened, since I was the only one who really saw it clearly. But when the umpires came out to talk to me just a few seconds later, I confirmed that the batter had really hit the ball over the fence.
We finished the game and ended up losing. I felt bad about that, but I felt good that I had told the truth.
A few days later, after we had finished playing for the day, I received an envelope. It contained a poem titled “Honesty on the Field,” and it was about my telling the truth on the field when it would have been easy not to. It had been written by an umpire who had seen the game. He said he was glad I had had the courage to tell the truth, and that not all people show integrity on the ball field.
Even though my team didn’t win very many games at the tournament, I will always remember that incident as a time when I felt like a winner.