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Inspiring Stories of Sportsmanship


Teach kids about positive character through real-life examples. Sportsmanship goes beyond a single game. It shines through in all these stories, including the actions of college softball player Mallory Holtman, who helped an injured opponent, and of German track star Luz Long, who befriended Jesse Owens—in front of Hitler—at the 1936 Berlin Olympics.

Encourage enthusiasm for reading and inspire positive character development with these powerful stories that highlight character building in sports. The Count on Me: Sports series demonstrates that character is best defined by the people who display it.

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Paperback $9.99 24552W Paperback 24552W $9.99

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ISBN: 978-1-57542-455-2
Reading Level: Grade 5
Interest Level: Ages 8–13
Guided Reading Level: T
Lexile Measure: 810L
Illustrated: two-color, photos
Trim Size: 5.125" x 7"
Page Count: 104
Praise for the series:
“My gymnastics medals were the result of countless hours of training and practice. But success comes, too, from an understanding of priorities. As shown by the wonderful stories in the Count on Me: Sports series, athletics can not only reveal character, but also hopefully inspire it.”—Shannon Miller, two-time Olympic gold medalist

“I was a professional football player for fifteen seasons, but by far my most important job is being the father of two sports-loving daughters. The true tales in Brad Herzog’s books show how the games we play can teach seriously important life lessons to kids.”—Jake Delhomme, former Super Bowl quarterback for the Carolina Panthers

“As a longtime coach of amateur and professional athletes, I know that sports is about far more than winning and losing. It is about character and courage. It is about doing the right thing, even in the heat of the moment. The Count on Me: Sports series celebrates sportsmen and sportswomen who are role models—not only as athletes, but as human beings.”—Dave Sarachan, MLS associate head coach for the Los Angeles Galaxy
The Ripple Effect of Sportsmanship

While writing Inspiring Stories of Sportsmanship, my goal was to highlight truly stirring acts of sportsmanship amid the action: A world-class miler stops, mid-race, to check on a fallen competitor; an Olympic fencer points out two touches by an opponent that the judges had missed; a high school basketball player intentionally misses free throws to show support for a grieving opponent.

But the evaluations of those acts are perhaps equally significant—for givers, for the receivers, and even (or maybe especially) for those who witnessed the behavior.

The Giver
Golf great Bobby Jones once called a penalty on himself even though he was the only one to see it—and it wound up costing him the 1925 U.S. Open. He shrugged off the subsequent praise by saying, “You may as well praise a man for not robbing a bank.” Indeed, often, when sports figures display remarkable sportsmanship, they don’t consider it remarkable at all. It is simply what you do.

After college softball player Mallory Holtman carried an injured opponent around the bases in 2008, allowing her opponent to gingerly touch the bases all after a home run hit, said Holtman, “She hit it over the fence and was in pain. And she deserved a home run.” When high school track star Meghan Vogel stopped to help a fallen competitor in a 2012 state meet, Vogel said, “If you work hard to get to the state meet, you deserve to finish. I was going to make that happen for her.”

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Ideas and questions to help readers get the most of the Count on Me: Sports series.

  • Common Core State Standards


Related Resources

A Leader’s Guide to Count on Me: Sports

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