The recent scandal around alleged doping in elite sport has left me, and countless others no doubt, feeling shocked and disappointed. It raises many questions, one of which is what makes a ‘good sport’? And why is it so important to foster this quality in children?
Sport offers a unique opportunity to shape the character of a child at a time when they are learning about themselves and their character is developing.
Sportsmanship is not just about following rules, behaving a certain way because that’s the way you’re supposed to behave; it’s about what sort of human beings we choose to become. Sportsmanship is not just about acceptable behaviour, it’s about excellence of character and respect.
To respect something is to value it and treat it as worthy in its own right. To respect something, I have to overcome my inclination to be selfish, my inclination to see the thing only in terms of my own needs and interests.
There are plenty of opportunities in Striver to learn these qualities. But there are also plenty of opportunities to cheat – to not be truthful about your score, or not enter your score correctly. And that’s why we developed the Striver Oath.
“As a Striver, I solemnly swear to help myself and others reach their goals by;
• Encouraging my fellow Strivers
• Honestly keeping score
• Doing my best in every task.”
Sport offers children an incredible opportunity to decide who they are. Let’s help them be their best.
“…To be a good sport, I must understand my situation and see things broadly, not simply in terms of self-centred desires to win, to be famous, or to be mentioned in the headlines of the local newspaper. As a player or participant, I should respect opponents, teammates, officials, the coach, and, in the broadest sense, the very activity in which I am engaged. It is important to remember, however, that we are talking not simply about rules for behaviour but about the habit of respect—a habit of respect that becomes a part of someone’s character.”
‘Sport and Character’ by Craig Clifford and Randolf Feezell.