At its best, athletic competition can hold intrinsic value for our society. It is a symbol of a great ideal: pursuing victory with honor. The love of sports is deeply embedded in our national consciousness. The values of millions of participants and spectators are directly and dramatically influenced by the values conveyed by organized sports. Thus, sports are a major social force that shapes the quality and character of the American culture. In the belief that the impact of sports can and should enhance the character and uplift the ethics of the nation, we seek to establish a framework of principles and a common language of values that can be adopted and practiced widely.
— PREAMBLE, The Arizona Sports Summit Accord
From Tampa BayLightning Care:
In a 2005 study by three Midwestern universities, coaches of 9- to 15-year old athletes indicated a very high level of agreement with the statement, “Teaching sportsmanship is a major part of a coach’s job.” They also agreed strongly with the statement, “Coaches have a responsibility to help members of their team become better people, not just better athletes.” The data suggests that there is a “strong desire by the parents and coaches to teach positive sports behaviors.” The problem is that too many coaches are doing a miserable job of actually teaching sportsmanship and moral reasoning.
As Michael Josephson, head of the Josephson Institute of Ethics, notes, “Too many youngsters are confused about the meaning of fair play and sportsmanship and … have no concept of honorable competition. As a result they engage in illegal conduct and employ doubtful gamesmanship techniques to gain a competitive advantage.”
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