As we bid goodbye to 2011, let’s take a look back at the year in sportsmanship, as chronicled by your humble bloggers. Which stories most captured the imaginations, consciences, and thoughtfulness of you, our readers?
Here are the top 10 stories of the year, as measured by the number of Facebook “likes” that each post received. We know that this is an inexact measure — not everyone uses Facebook, and not everyone who likes a given blog post “likes” it on their social network.
But we still thought it would be fun to review the most popular stories of the year. What stories did our readers most want to share with their friends? What inspired them, or made them think? What might 2011 be remembered for?
Here’s the countdown:
#10 – U.S. women show resilience at World Cup
Remember last summer, when the Americans captivated us with their level-headed, pulled-together, and winning response to bad officiating and unsportsmanlike play in the World Cup quarterfinals?
#9 – Cross country runner carries injured opponent to safety
In September, a Minnesota high school runner made headlines when he picked up and carried an injured opponent back to the starting line, then turned around and finished his own race.
#8 – How do you teach kids to deal with mistakes?
Take advantage of the “goldmine of teachable moments” inherent in games and practices.
#7 – What can we learn about whistle blowers from the Penn State scandal?
and #4 – When good people do the wrong thing
The most heartbreaking sports story of the year was the Penn State child abuse scandal.
#6 – When the homecoming queen and the defensive back are the same person
All over the country, more girls are playing football on boys teams
#5 – The way you want to win
Professional tennis player Melinda Czink set a great, and rare, example when she corrected a match official who incorrectly called her opponent’s ball in bounds on the match point. Czink went on to win against top-seeded Alison Riske, but she ensured she did it with character.
#3 – Is a boy’s refusal to wrestle a girl respectful or sexist?
This story was not only one of the most “liked” of the year, it was by far the most commented-on. An Iowa high school wrestler forfeited a match in the state championship tournament because his opponent would have been a girl.
#2 – How do you play soccer in the middle of the sea?
Readers loved this short film about kids from a floating village in southern Thailand who built an improvised platform in the ocean to play soccer on. Proving that adversity really can be the best teacher, they went on to become perennial champions in the regional and national tournaments.
And finally…the PVWH’s most “liked” story of the year…
#1 – Spine-tingling act of high school sportsmanship wins award from the U.S. Olympic Committee
None of the spectators at the North Carolina state-qualifying cross country race had ever seen anything like it, and apparently our readers hadn’t either. When Deb Guthman suffered a sudden, painful injury in the last yards of the race, the opponent who had been trailing her for the previous three miles stopped, and helped her across the finish line first.
We hope you enjoyed the look back at 2011. What was your favorite or most thought-provoking story of the year?