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Yale's pep band had to miss the NCAA tournament. University of Idaho said, 'We got you.'

In an act of true sportsmanship, the Vandal band learned Yale's fight song, wore their gear and cheered them on.

Courtesy of University of Idaho

The Idaho Vandals answered the call when Yale needed a pep band.

Yale University and the University of Idaho could not be more different. Ivy League vs. state school. East Coast vs. Pacific Northwest. City vs. farm town. But in the first two rounds of the NCAA basketball tournament, extenuating circumstances brought them together as one, with the Bulldogs and the Vandals becoming the "Vandogs" for a weekend.

When Yale made it to the March Madness tournament, members of the school's pep band had already committed to other travel plans during spring break. They couldn't gather enough members to make the trek across the country to Spokane, Washington, so the Yale Bulldogs were left without their fight song unless other arrangements could be made.

When University of Idaho athletic band director Spencer Martin got wind of the need less than a week before Yale's game against Auburn, he sent out a message to his band members asking if anyone would be interested in stepping in. The response was a wave of immediate yeses, so Martin got to work arranging instruments and the students dedicated themselves to learning Yale's fight song and other traditional Yale pep songs.

Idaho band members even reached out to Yale band members via social media to get tips and asked the spirit squad for suggestions for making their "Vandogs" performance the best it could be. Yale also sent spirit gear with the big yellow Y for Yale for them to wear.

University of Idaho band members filling in for Yale

The Idaho Vandals called themselves the "Vandogs" for two NCAA tournament games.

Courtesy of University of Idaho

“Everyone was really enthusiastic about covering for the Yale students who couldn’t make it,” Martin told the Yale Daily News. “Universities help universities, and bands help bands.”

That genuine act of sportsmanship and camaraderie touched people across the nation, much to the delight of the students.

“'Look Mom, I’m on ESPN,’” Martin told The Spokesman-Review, quoting his students. “You’re a farm kid in the middle of a farm town. How often do you get that? Never.”

And people loved seeing it as well.

"Kudos to the University of Idaho band! Band kids are the greatest!" wrote one commenter.

"Awesome job Idaho..this is a perfect example of true sportsmanship!!" shared another.

"This is such a great show of collegiate athletics and why they are important! Well done!👍" shared another.

It's hard not to catch the energy of the tournament, as the Vandogs found out.

"It was awesome watching them play," Idaho grad student Cody Barrick, who plays the tenor saxophone, told ESPN. "We were right on our feet with everyone else at the end there cheering them on for sure."

And as it turned out, the pep in Yale's step did seem to be extra "on" during that first game. The Bulldogs went into the tournament as an underdog, with #4 Auburn being their first competitor, but they pulled off a dramatic upset that moved them to the next round.

So not only did Idaho's band play for them that first Friday game, but they also drove the 90 miles to Spokane again the following Sunday night for Yale's second round game against San Diego State.

The Bulldogs were eliminated from the tournament in that game, but memories were made for life. And Martin says the Vandals would do it anytime, for any school, a testament to the program.

“If you choose the Vandal band, you know that it’s going to come through,” he told the Spokesman-Review. “It always has. That’s the tradition. There was no doubt that we would come through for them.”

This article originally appeared on 06.17.19

Even when the competition is fierce, winning at friendship is more important than winning a game.

A viral video is making people feel alllll the good feelings, which we could frankly use more of these days.

Baseball pitcher Ty Koehn of Mounds View High School in Minnesota wound up his pitch. He hurled it to the batter, Jack Kocon of Totino-Grace High School, and it was a doozy. Kocon struck out, which meant Mounds View would advance to the state championship and Totino-Grace would go home.

Koehn's teammates started running out to the pitcher's mound to surround the hero who clinched the win. But Koehn chose to do something else first.

He put his celebration on hold, ran up to home plate, and wrapped his arms around Kocon. He gave the batter a long hug before walking him toward the edge of the field. Only then did he join his cheering teammates.

Koehn and Kocon have been friends and played baseball together since childhood, and that life-long friendship shines through in this touching moment.

No amount of excitement and pride trumps comforting a disappointed friend.

The video, shared by hitting coach Coach Lisle on Facebook, has gone viral because no matter who we are or where we come from, we all love seeing beautiful moments of pure humanity. As one commenter pointed out, we are all bigger than the moment, and this video exemplifies that fact.

For a high schooler who just won a big game to immediately go to his friend instead of his teammates shows that he understands what's truly most important. And for two young men to feel comfortable and secure enough to hug like that in front of a crowd speaks to how far we've come in embracing male sensitivity. Talk about a wonderful display of love, understanding, compassion, sportsmanship, and friendship all rolled into one.

Definitely one to show to the kids. Watch the heartwarming video here:

This HS pitcher struck out his childhood friend to advance to the ...

This HS pitcher struck out his childhood friend to advance to the state championship. Instead of celebrating with his teammates, he did something else:

This article originally appeared on 10.24.19

True acts of sportsmanship are always a delight to see. And a video shared by ESPN that captured a beautiful moment from a women's soccer match is no exception.

In a WAFF Women's Club Championship match between Jordan's Shabab al Ordon Club and Arab Orthodox Club that took place last October, a Muslim player from the latter team had a minor collision with another player that partially removed her hijab.

For women who cover their hair with the hijab, it is an expression of faith and symbol of modesty. For a hijabi woman to be seen in public without that covering is to feel inappropriately exposed.

The players on the opposing team didn't wear hijab themselves, but they immediately recognized the potential embarrassment of the player. As soon as they saw her kneel down to replace her head covering, players from Shabab al Ordon Club started gathering around her, signaling their teammates to come and form a shield around her while she put everything back into place. It was a spontaneous act, clearly born of understanding, empathy, and respect. Even though those players did not practice the same custom, and even though it wasn't even their own teammate, they supported this woman's adherence to her faith tradition without hesitation and gave her the privacy she needed in the moment.

Watch how quickly the players came to her rescue:

Responses to the video have been largely positive. Some of the comments on the ESPN video include:

"Perfect example of respecting someone's beliefs even if they aren't yours. Kudos to them…"

"I don't understand why it is important. But the fact is, I don't need to understand it to respect it. That was an amazing show of respect."

"The character and sportsmanship of these athletes is awe inspiring. Freedom of religion isn't just for Christianity, but for all religions. Kudos."

"Wow...beautiful. That is a demonstration on how to appreciate and respect differences. These young girls are leading the way. Fantastic!"

"If only the world were like this, where we all respected and appreciated one other's differences. I don't have to believe what you believe to respect you and your right to have that belief. Awesome moment."

Some things are bigger than sports. What a wonderful example these women set for the world. Kudos, indeed.

For the first time, skateboarding is an official Olympic sport, and after watching the men's and women's street skateboarding events this weekend, our family has decided it's officially a totally welcome addition.

I grew up with a skateboarding brother during the earliest years of Tony Hawk's career, so the sport itself isn't unfamiliar to me. But I've never really followed skate competitions and wasn't sure how it would translate into an Olympic event. As it turns out, there are several things that make it both entertaining and refreshing to watch in comparison with other sports.

For one, let's talk about the "uniform" the athletes wear. As debates rage over volleyball bikinis and gymnastics leotards, here are the male and female skateboarders in long, loose pants and baggy t-shirts. They are the most comfortable-looking Olympians I've ever seen (being out in the humid Japanese heat notwithstanding). They look like they just popped off the couch after watching a movie and decided to go out and hop on their skateboard.

Secondly, hearing the announcers call out the names of the tricks was surprisingly entertaining. We laughed out loud as they strung together words like "That was a gnarlyFrontside Half Cab Kickflip to a Nollie Backside 180!" as if those are just normal things everyone recognizes. Half the time it sounded like they were making things up (they weren't, of course), which we found just delightful. At the same time, the announcers were good about explaining what the tricks entailed so that those of us who aren't familiar with the ins and outs could appreciate what we were seeing.

Third, it was awesome to see the chill culture of skateboarding take root on the world's biggest, most intense sports stage. Skaters are competitive, no doubt, but they also all cheer each other on and seem so supportive of one another. In skateboarding, anyone landing an epic trick is a cause for celebration, and anyone who stumbles gets a pat on the back and a high five for the attempt. There's no cutthroat vibe here, just a unique combo of concentration and laid-backness, which is fun to witness.

Surely, there was heartbreak among those who hoped to medal, as there is in any sport. But the vibe was just different than it is n most sports. I mean, this is Margielyn Didal, who finished 7th and had some hard falls during the finals. She was like this pretty much the whole time. Pure joy.

And how about the diversity in ages, especially among the women skaters? We almost ended up with two teens and a 34-year-old on the podium in the women's street competition, with a spread of 21 years between the youngest and oldest. (American skater Alexis Sablone turns 35 in a couple of weeks and ended up in 4th place after the final trick.) The gold and silver medal winners are both 13 years old, and the bronze winner is 16. And while the young skaters dominated in the end, Sablone showed that it's not just a sport for the youth.

(But let's also take a moment of awe for these 13-year-olds, Momiji Nishiya of Japan and Rayssa Leal of Brazil. Holy moly. So much talent and such great sportsmanship and such a young age.)

Finally, let's have a moment of appreciation for the sport itself. It took a long time for the athletic world to fully appreciate the skill and practice it takes to do things like flip a moving board with four wheels several feet into the air with your feet, make it do just the right number of flips and turns in the air beneath you, stop it in exactly the right position to slide down a railing over a flight of stairs, and then land it on the ground—all while the board and you are flying through the air—without falling off. When skaters do it perfectly, it looks easy. But it's a million little movements and balances and weight distributions and calculations that make these tricks work, and as we saw from how many they don't land how hard it really is.

Also, they land on concrete when they fall. Ouch. And sometimes things like this happen:

Double ouch.

Our family and friends have thoroughly enjoyed seeing skateboarding take its place on the Olympic stage, and are looking forward to seeing the park skateboarding competition coming up. Good move making skateboarding an official Olympic sport, finally. Definitely recommend checking out the highlights if you missed it:

THIRTEEN-year-old Momiji Nishiya wins gold in street skateboarding | Tokyo Olympics | NBC Sportswww.youtube.com