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Good Sportsmanship Leads to Home Run



Arts & Humanities
--Language Arts
--Visual Arts
Physical Education
--Team Sports
Social Studies
--Current Events


Grades 2-up

News Content

A lesson in good sportsmanship has been making news headlines around the world.

Anticipation Guide

Before reading

  • Ask students to share examples they have witnessed of good sportsmanship.
  • Write the words Oregon and Washington on a board or chart, and ask students to locate those two states on a U.S. map.

    News Words

    Next, introduce these words that appear in the News Word Box on the students printable page: imagine, opposing, collapsed, injury, playoffs, and umpire. Discuss the meanings of any of those words that might be unfamiliar. Then ask students to use one of those words to complete each of these sentences:

  • The team that wins four out of seven games in the _____ will be the league champs. (playoffs)
  • No one could _____ anyone else winning the Person of the Year Award. (imagine)
  • Strike three!" the _____ yelled. Youre outta there!" (umpire)
  • Teammates were hoping that an _____ to their star quarterbacks wrist would not end his career. (injury)
  • Players on the _____ team congratulated the Wildcats on their extra-inning victory. (opposing)
  • The building _____ under the weight of the snow on its roof. (collapsed)

    Read the News

    Click for a printable version of this weeks news story Good Sportsmanship Leads to Home Run.

    You might use a variety of approaches to reading the news:

    Read aloud the news story to students as they follow along.

    Students might first read the news story to themselves; then you might call on individual students to read sections of the news aloud for the class.

    Photocopy the news story onto a transparency and project it onto a screen. (Or use your classroom computer's projector to project the story.) Read the story aloud as a class, or ask students to take turns reading it.

    Arrange students into small groups. Each student in the group will read a paragraph of the story. As that student reads, others might underline important information or write notes in the margin of the story. After each student finishes reading, others in the group might say something -- a comment, a question, a clarification -- about the text.

    More Facts to Share

    You might share these additional facts with students after they have read this weeks news story.

  • The home run that Sara Tucholsky (Western Oregon University) hit was her first-ever home run in an official game. But it was a home run that almost wasnt. As Tucholsky excitedly rounded first base, she realized she had not touched the bag. She doubled back to touch the base, a move that resulted in a torn knee ligament.

    Sara is small -- she's like 5-2, really tiny," Western Oregon coach Pam Knox told ESPN. So you would never think that she would hit a home run. The score was 0-0, and Sara hit a shot over center field. And I'm coaching third and I'm high-fiving the other two runners that came by -- then all of a sudden, I look up, and I'm like, Where's Sara? And I look over, and she's in a heap beyond first base."

  • According to an ESPN report, umpires in the game confirmed that the only option was to replace Tucholsky at first base with a pinch runner and have the hit recorded as a two-run single instead of a three-run home run. Any assistance from coaches or trainers while she was an active runner would result in an out. It was then that Coach Knox heard first baseman, Mallory Holtman (Central Washington University), say to the ump, Excuse me, would it be OK if we carried her around and she touched each bag?"
  • Many spectators were stunned when Central Washingtons Holtman and shortstop Liz Wallace carried Tucholsky around the bases, because the action sealed their own fate; a loss in the game meant they were eliminated from the playoffs.
  • Holtman and Wallace put their arms under Tucholsky's legs, and she put her arms over their shoulders. As the trio neared home plate, the fans gave them a standing ovation.
  • After the game, Holtman told reporters, Honestly, it's one of those things that I hope anyone would do for me In the end, it is not about winning and losing so much. It was about this girl. She hit it over the fence and was in pain, and she deserved a home run."
  • Coach Knox had this to say: It was such a lesson that we learned -- that it's not all about winning. And we forget that, because as coaches, we're always trying to get to the top. But I will never, ever, forget this moment. It's changed me, and I'm sure it's changed my players."
  • Holtman is the career home run leader in the Great Northwest Athletic Conference.
  • Tucholsky had been a part-time starter all season. Prior to her home run, she had just three hits in 34 at-bats this season.
  • After the game, it was clarified that the rulebook would have allowed a substitute runner to complete Tucholskys home run: According to page 105, rule, of the NCAA softball rule book, If an injury to a batter-runner or runner prevents her from proceeding to an awarded base, the ball is dead and the substitution can be made. The substitute must legally touch all awarded or missed bases not previously touched."
  • Holtman realizes that this story will live on in the memories of everyone who was at the game that day. In Holtmans words: It's something people will talk about They won't talk about who got hits and what happened and who won; they'll talk about that. And it's kind of a nice way to go out, because it shows what our program is about and the kind of people we have here."
  • No video footage of the event has been documented, but this photograph was widely published. (See a second photo)

    Comprehension Check

    Recalling Detail

  • What two teams were playing in the big playoff game? (Central Washington and Western Oregon Universities)
  • What position did Sara Tucholsky play for Western Oregon University? (outfield)
  • How many runners scored ahead of Tucholsky when she hit her home run? (two runners scored ahead of her)
  • Why did Tucholsky turn back toward first base after she passed it? (She had not tagged the base as she passed it.)
  • What happened to stop Tucholsky in her tracks? (She injured her right knee as she turned to backtrack to first base.)
  • How was Tucholsky able to cross home plate after she injured her knee? (Two players on the opposing team carried her around the base paths.)

    Think About the News
    Discuss the Think About the News question that appears on the students news page. You might provide students with an opportunity to share other good news" stories they have heard on TV news or read in newspapers. In addition, students might talk about what good sportsmanship means to them, and you might share this video, What Kids Want Their Parents to Know About Good Sportsmanship.

    Follow-Up Activities

    Language arts writing. Invite students to put themselves in the shoes of Sara Tucholsky or Mallory Holtman on the day of this big game. Ask them to write about the events of the day from that persons perspective. In their writing, they should share their feelings about at least three of the following events that occurred:

  • as the ball flew out of the park
  • as Tucholsky rounded first base
  • as the umpires made split-second decisions about the rules
  • as Holtman and her teammate carried Tucholsky around the bases
  • as the fans gave the three girls a standing ovation
  • as reporters from around the world drew attention to their act of sportsmanship

    All Subjects. Plan a bit of fun and skill review with a game of Two Diamond Baseball." For the rules of this game, which involves teamwork and sportsmanship, see the lesson plan Two Diamond Baseball Review Game.

    Citizenship -- sportsmanship. Arrange students into six small groups. Assign each group of students one of the categories of people at a sports competition that appears below. Each group should identify characteristics of good sportsmanship that their assigned category should exhibit during a game or competition:

  • Players (how they show good sportsmanship to the opposing team)
  • Players (how they show good sportsmanship to the officials/umpires)
  • Coaches
  • Cheerleaders
  • Spectators (parents)
  • Spectators (other students) Give students time to complete the activity. Then have them share their thoughts and discuss sportsmanship in relation to each group. After the discussion you might hand out to each student a copy of the Sportsmanship: The Educated Choice brochure.

    Art. After discussing the concept of sportsmanship (see lesson idea above), invite each student to create a poster that illustrates one element of good sportsmanship. Display the posters in the school cafeteria, hallways, or gym.

    If you wish additional resources for teaching sportsmanship or improving sportsmanship in your school, the Good Sportsmanship Kit produced by the Michigan High School Athletic Association (MHSAA) is an excellent resource. See the kit: Good Sports Are Winners! (Adobe Acrobat required)


    Use the Comprehension Check (above) as an assessment. Or have students work on their own (in their journals) or in their small groups to respond to the Think About the News questions on the news story page or in the Comprehension Check section above.

    Lesson Plan Source

    Education World

    National Standards

    FINE ARTS: Visual Arts
    GRADES K - 4
    NA-VA.K-4.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.K-4.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.K-4.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
    GRADES 5 - 8
    NA-VA.5-8.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.5-8.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.5-8.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NA-VA.9-12.1 Understanding and Applying Media, Techniques, and Processes
    NA-VA.9-12.3 Choosing and Evaluating A Range of Subject Matter, Symbols, and Ideas
    NA-VA.9-12.6 Making Connections Between Visual Arts and Other Disciplines

    LANGUAGE ARTS: English
    GRADES K - 12
    NL-ENG.K-12.1 Reading for Perspective
    NL-ENG.K-12.2 Reading for Understanding
    NL-ENG.K-12.4 Communication Skills
    NL-ENG.K-12.6 Applying Knowledge
    NL-ENG.K-12.11 Participating in Society
    NL-ENG.K-12.12 Applying Language Skills

    GRADES K - 12
    NPH.K-12.5 Responsible Behavior
    NPH.K-12.6 Respect for Others

    GRADES K - 4
    NSS-C.K-4.5 Roles of the Citizen

    GRADES 5 - 8
    NSS-C.5-8.5 Roles of the Citizen
    GRADES 9 - 12
    NSS-C.9-12.5 Roles of the Citizen

    See recent news stories in Education Worlds News Story of the Week Archive.

    Article by Ellen Delisio and Gary Hopkins
    Education World®
    Copyright © 2008 Education World