READY, SET, GO! Celebrating Three Years of Sportsmanship with EVIE’S F – Cardinal Rule Press
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READY, SET, GO! Celebrating Three Years of Sportsmanship with EVIE’S FIELD DAY

Everyone loves to win, and no one likes to lose but both are part of life. How we deal with winning and losing is what matters. This is a core concept of my book EVIE’S FIELD DAY: More Than One Way to Win, illustrated by Alicia Teba and published by Cardinal Rule Press in 2020.

As a parent and elementary teacher, I know firsthand how hard it is for children to be on the losing team or to come in last while playing a game. EVIE’S FIELD DAY explores the concept of sportsmanship from the viewpoint of a competitive child who does not deal well with losing but, when faced with a choice, chooses kindness instead of being first.

Sportsmanship is an undervalued quality. In both amateur and professional sports, negative behavior is far too common. Players, coaches, and spectators often put themselves first with terrible results. Yet, we have all seen heartwarming acts of kindness which inspire us. Sportsmanship is a quality that can be developed. One of the best ways is by modeling good sportsmanship and pointing it out when we see it.

EVIE’S FIELD DAY launched at the beginning of the pandemic when families were facing challenges and learning to adjust their lives to new challenges. Although intended as a school story, the timing of the book’s release made it a book that helped families navigate their days in positive ways. Instead of author visits with schools and bookstores, I spent nearly two years visiting classrooms via zoom. I was privileged to be welcomed into homes and classes spreading the message of good sportsmanship. Children shared examples of both good and poor behavior while playing with others. Everyone agreed about the importance of encouragement and in keeping competition friendly. A number of teachers created activities to use with EVIE’S FIELD DAY including this one from Teaching In Stripes which you can download here.

The launch of EVIE’S FIELD DAY was intended to coincide with the field days that many schools hold. With students at home, we pivoted and encouraged families to have their own “at home field day.” Children invented and planned games which included obstacle courses, races, balloon tennis, tag, and much more. We had an overwhelmingly positive response and were amazed at the creative activities the families shared. One of the most important lessons that came from this time was that of the importance of families making the time to play together.

Now that children are back in their classrooms, I am busy visiting schools and sharing EVIE’S FIELD DAY. Children express empathy with Evie when she loses but they also realize how her negative behavior takes the fun out of playing. Part of my program includes a “good sport, bad sport” activity where students demonstrate their knowledge of positive and negative actions. In conclusion, everyone agrees that it doesn’t matter whether you win or lose, it is just important to do your best, be a good friend, and have fun.

It is now three years since EVIE’S FIELD DAY was released and the message continues to be relevant. I recently had the opportunity to participate in a family field day. Held on a Friday evening, the elementary school parent organization planned games and brought in food trucks. I shared Evie and the message of sportsmanship with the families. It was a heart-warming event that showed how children benefit when schools and families have strong partnerships.

Playing and bonding as a family is an important part of building strong family-child relationships. Now that summer is here, make time to play. Head outside and play some favorite old games, try new games, and invent your own. Most importantly, have fun!

As Evie will tell you, “Some things are better than winning!” 

Claire Annette Noland is the author of the award-winning picture book, EVIE’S FIELD DAY: More Than One Way to Win (Cardinal Rule Press: 2020), RAVEN’S GIFT: A Feathered Flight of Faith  (Bless This Press: 2022) the Out and About with George series (Valley Children’s Publishing) NANCY BESS HAD A DRESS (Gnome Road Publishing:2024) She writes from her book-filled home in Central California.

Claire’s career has centered around children and books as a children’s librarian, reading specialist, kindergarten teacher, and mom. She has traveled extensively as a children’s advocate and is currently developing a children’s library in Nicaragua. When not writing you can find her playing bocce ball on the beach with her family or stocking her little free library with her doodle dog, Mr. Ernie.

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