Portfolio Activity for “Out of Bounds”

Sports rivalries can energize school spirit. But keeping events respectful takes a dynamic blend of foresight, leadership and buy-in from the community.

This activity accompanies the article "Out of Bounds."


  • What does the saying "It's not whether you win or lose, it's how you play the game" mean to you?
  • What is your school's biggest sports rivalry? How do students at your school prepare for that game?
  • How did the rivalries described in the story relate to intolerance and bullying?
  • What would you do if you knew that students from your school were going to pull a prank to a rival school that could possibly damage property?

Often school sports rivalries go back for generations. Ask parents, grandparents or older community members about the sports rivalries from their high school days to see how they compare to current experiences.

  • Talk with school leadership and coaches about approaching your counterparts at a rival high school in advance of a big game to discuss ideas that will help set a positive tone before, during and after the game.
  • Research “rivalry-gone-wrong” games like those noted in the article to see why they generated so much controversy. 

Resources for Growing Good Sports
Here are organizations and resources that value competing with class while building a school climate where sports serve the community. 

Positive Coaching Alliance
A national nonprofit that promotes a healthy love of sports. 

Respect the Game
An online multimedia resource produced by the Ohio High School Athletic Association. 

Changing the Game
Gay, Lesbian and Straight Education Network’s multimedia project to address homophobia in sports. 

National School Climate Center
Tools to assess and improve a school’s social and learning climate. 

Project Unify
A program of the Special Olympics to get young athletes involved with Special Olympians.

Elevating Your Game by Jim Thompson
A book aimed at young athletes, describing ways to “make themselves, teammates and the game better.”

Montana High School Association Sportsmanship Program Crowd Control
A step-by-step, no-nonsense guide to managing a large athletic event, with ideas about effective conflict management.