Sunday, May 25, 2014

NotTheTrophies

I recently attended the annual all-sports banquet of the school I serve (Guthrie CSD).  It is always nice to see the students, staff, and community get dressed up, gather together in communion, and celebrate another year of athletic endeavor.

As I heard the coaches review the year and speak of the athletes, I was reminded again of the role that athletics should play in the school program. 

Any school, every school, has a solemn obligation to equip our children with the knowledge and skills they need to be productive, happy, and responsible citizens.  Participating in academics, fine arts, athletics, and career/technical programming all contribute to the achievement of that agenda.

Athletic competition, however, provides a unique crucible in which some very powerful life-lessons can be learned:
  • The value of pushing ourselves beyond our perceived limits.
  • The importance of winning with modesty.
  • The significance of losing with dignity.
  • The necessity of contributing substantially to a team effort.
  • The healing effects of hard work.
  • The reality that one's opponents are not always "enemies," and that one's allies are not always "friends."
These and many other powerful lessons flow from athletic competition, and the preparatory work associated with it.  Furthermore, they are learned best under the guidance and direction of wise coaches who grasp the BIG picture, who understand how/when/why those lessons should be taught.

Athletics is not, and should never be, about the trophies.  In fact, some of the most valuable and long-lasting lessons are learned when the trophies don't come.  


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