Lessons in kindness to use in business and daily life…

By Sandra Clitter  

For those of you who don’t know, I live outside of Philadelphia, PA, in an area surrounded by venerable colleges and universities. In some places, you can throw a rock in any direction and ‘hit’ an institution of higher learning. This last week, I heard of an event that occurred between two of those institutions, that reminded me of what we should be learning and teaching – in school and in business.

All too often, civility and caring and respect, are missing from business – and from life, in general. I am reminded that I was taught to ‘do well by doing good’. It is easy to forget this simple truth as we get wrapped up in our days…yet, it’s one that I want to try to keep first and foremost in my mind.

Back on January 29th, 2011, a senior at Swarthmore College by the name of Ceylan Bodur had a career-ending ACL injury (can you say ‘ouch’?). While this was devastating to her and her team, it is true that this happens all the time in sports – collegiate, professional and recreational. What was unusual this day was that Ms. Bodur had 999 career points at Swarthmore. Nine hundred and ninety-nine. One Thousand gets you a banner in the gym. 999 gets you nothing. Talk about devastating. Swarthmore is a Division III school. Ms. Bodur probably wasn’t planning on playing for the WNBA, but for individual achievement, the 1000-point mark would have been remarkable. As of that date, only seven players in Swarthmore’s history had reached that lofty level. It would have been a tremendous personal achievement and a legacy to leave Swarthmore.


Fast-forward to February 16th, 2011 and a conference match-up between rivals Swarthmore College and Bryn Mawr College. The coaches for Bryn Mawr and Swarthmore put their heads together before the match and decided that Ms. Bodur HAD to reach that milestone – so they cooperated.

On the initial tip-off of the game, Bryn Mawr made sure that Swarthmore got control of the ball. A teammate of Ms. Bodur’s dribbled down the court to where her injured teammate stood – unguarded – under the basket. She passed the ball to Ms. Bodur (on the court in uniform AND in a knee-brace) who took the layup (feet firmly planted on the boards) and scored 2-points for a total of 1,001 career points at Swarthmore.

Swarthmore then allowed Bryn Mawr to inbound the ball and take an uncontested shot of their own. Score? 2-2. Timeout. [Already, I’m feeling goosebumps because I love when the right thing happens for the right reason.]

The Swarthmore Coach then substituted all four of her seniors who walked off the court, arm-in-arm, to celebrate the milestone with their teammate. Wow! How special. That’s a moment that those young women – and the people who witnessed it – will remember forever.

How simple. How graceful. How perfect.

We need to translate moments like this into everyday life – both personally and professionally. When you get all caught up in the cut-throat world and focus just on getting ahead, you forget that ‘doing well by doing good’ should always be your guide. Am I doing the right thing? Am I doing what’s good? Am I helping to make someone’s life a little bit better?

This type of sportsmanship just doesn’t occur every day, BUT IT SHOULD. It was so noteworthy that the NCAA, Sports Illustrated and the Associated Press, all picked up the story. For those of you who want to read a bit more, or see the video, here are a couple of links:

VIDEO provided by Swarthmore College

NCAA Write-up

Sports Illustrated Write-up


  1. Zeren Bodur
    Posted April 24, 2011 at 4:39 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thank you thousand times for your sharing…I am Ceylan Bodur’s mother (from Turkey)
    She worked so hard for her lessons and tried to do her best for basketball..So this ..your writing is something like a present for her..Thank you for pointing the important things in life…

    • Posted April 25, 2011 at 8:52 am | Permalink | Reply

      Oh, Ms. Bodur, I am so glad that you found this article and were pleased by it. Her story moved many people. I wish her all the best as she moves on to the next phase of her life (and I hope that her ACL is healing, so that she can get back on the basketball court (even if it’s just for a fun game with friends).

  2. Kathy
    Posted March 18, 2011 at 9:05 am | Permalink | Reply

    Great story. Thanks for sharing it and for your message.

  3. Posted March 8, 2011 at 10:04 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Uplifting. Thank you for sharing Sandy. I am working hard at being present,living every day to its fullest. But I haven’t been thinking about doing well by doing good. I’m going to add that to my list of daily reminders. It’s good to be alive. Thank you, again.

  4. jane
    Posted March 7, 2011 at 10:41 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Loved that story – Thanks for sharing it!

  5. Posted March 4, 2011 at 9:09 am | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for sharing that story, Sandy. I live about 1 mile from Swarthmore College and hadn’t heard about it.

    Touching, spirited, life lessons all in one.

    Charlie Seymour Jr

  6. Posted March 3, 2011 at 10:26 pm | Permalink | Reply

    Thanks for sharing this story. As a college athlete myself, seeing my college roommate score her 1,000th point, and having two daughters that love the game of basketball, this story really choked me up. Those coaches should be commended for remembering what is important.

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