Diane Prather: Mia Hamm says ‘Winners Never Quit!’ | CraigDailyPress.com

Diane Prather: Mia Hamm says ‘Winners Never Quit!’

Diane Prather

Learning the importance of being part of a team and how to lose graciously are crucial to being successful in life, whether it’s in sports or anything else. The author of this week’s book learned these lessons as a child.

“Winners Never Quit!” was written by Mia Hamm, one of the world’s greatest female soccer players. The illustrations were done by Carol Thompson.

This inspirational book would make a great gift for an elementary-age child, although its messages apply to all ages.

Mia, the young girl in this book, loves all kinds of sports, but most of all, she loves soccer. Each day she plays soccer with her brother, two sisters and neighborhood children.

Mia seems to be a gifted soccer player. She gets the ball right where she wants it, kicks it straight into the net and makes a goal. Everybody on her team cheers. Mia loves it.

However, just like everybody else, sometimes Mia has an off-day. Then, when Mia kicks the ball, it goes to the left or right of the net. There’s no goal, and her teammates don’t cheer.

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Mia folds her arms tight against her body. She has an angry look on her face.

Older brother Garrett tries to cheer her up. He says she’ll have luck next time, but Mia wants luck right now. She’s so mad that she says, “I Quit!”

Mia is a poor sport.

The trouble is that if Mia quits, there will only be two people left on their team. Sister Caroline says she will be letting the team down. It’s not the only time that she’s done it, either.

Mia has a habit of quitting when she’s losing.

So, Mia’s brothers and sisters try to convince Mia to keep playing. But, Mia stomps back to the house anyway. Lovdy yells, “quitter!”

The next day, Mia’s brother and sisters turn the tables on Mia. When she comes out to play soccer, they inform her that quitters can’t play. Lovdy says that she has to learn how to lose before she can play, so Mia is left to stand by and watch.

So, what happens when Mia gets a chance to play again?

Mia Hamm has a special message for the reader at the book’s end. There also are two pages of photos of Mia playing soccer at different times in her life. This is a must-read book.

Hamm is a great role model for children. Star of the U.S. National Soccer Team, Olympic Gold medalist, World Cup champion and five-time U.S. soccer player of the year, she inspires young people to strive for their dreams.

Mia also is author of “Go for the Goal: A Champion’s Guide to Winning in Soccer and Life.” And that’s not all.

In 1999, she formed the Mia Hamm Foundation, benefiting bone marrow disease patients and families, as well as providing athletic opportunities for young women.

Illustrator Carol Thompson has received awards for her artwork, including the Mother Goose Award and Oppenheim Gold Award.

“Winners Never Quit!” is a Byron Preiss Book, published by Harper Collins Publishers (2004). It costs $16.89 in hardcover.

Copyright Diane Prather, 2007. All rights reserved.