The 29th annual
National Sportsmanship Day!
The 29th Anniversary Celebration of National Sportsmanship Day will begin on March 3 and will run through year end.
National Sportsmanship Day
March 3, 2020 will mark the 29th Anniversary of National Sportsmanship Day, which has always been celebrated the first Tuesday of March.
A feature of the 2020 National Sportsmanship Day will be the support of the New England Basketball Hall of Fame. NEBHOF Hall of Famers will lead Sportsmanship discussions in Schools Throughout New England from March 3 throughout year end.
2020 Discussion Topic
The 2020 National Sportsmanship Day Discussion Topic will be the role of "competitive self-restraint." Competitive self restraint is simply the ability to compete hard but maintain one's self control. This discussion topic is relevant for all ages!
The Encyclopedia of Sports Parenting
Schools and clubs that celebrate National Sportsmanship Day between March 3 and any time before October 15th, 2020 will receive a complimentary copy of The Encyclopedia of Sports Parenting by National Sportsmanship Day founder, Dan Doyle. The award winning book contains a full section on sportsmanship. Simply email us confirmation of your celebration and your full address at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The National Sportsmanship Day essay contest, in celebration of the 29th Annual National Sportsmanship Day.
We are pleased to announce our special 29th anniversary National Sportsmanship Day essay contest.
Preparing your essay: Step one:
To help you think about your approach to your National Sportsmanship Day essay contest submission, please review the following lists that appear in The Encyclopedia of Sports Parenting, as well as the Circle of Concern exercise, also featured in the Encyclopedia.
The 36 Good Things About Sports.
1. Sports can help a child develop a work ethic and a mental toughness, both of which can be useful in later life.
2. Sports can offer repeated opportunities for a child to practice and improve the skills of self-discipline and self-control.
3. Sports participation in childhood can set the stage for a life of physical fitness.
4. Sports can teach a child about fair play, which can serve as an ethical framework throughout life.
5. Sports can encourage the development of self-reliance and self-respect.
6. Sports, as much as any activity, can teach a child about teamwork.
7. Sports can offer varied and increasingly difficult challenges as a child advances in age and skill.
8. Sports can provide a venue for observing and then practicing good leadership skills.
9. Sports can teach a child to listen to and follow directions.
10. Sports can teach a child to face adversity, live with it, and sometimes even conquer it.
11. Sports can teach a child how to win with grace and lose with dignity.
12. Sports can provide a child with a sense of earned accomplishment.
13. Sports can teach a child about human diversity. For many of us, sports was our introduction to diversity.
14. Sports can encourage a child to develop organizational skills.
15. Sports can channel a child's competitive spirit in a healthy direction.
16. Sports can help a child learn to focus amid distractions, a skill transferable to non-sport learning.
17. Sports can produce utter joy.
18. Sports can teach a child constructive methods for dealing with mistakes, and nurture a resolve to do better the next time.
19. Sports can foster a sense of belonging by offering a child a place on a team and even new friends.
20. Sports can help a child cultivate "competitive self-restraint," a term you will read throughout this book.
21. Sports can be a basis for wonderful conversations, trips, reunions, laughter and, most importantly, close relationships.
22. Sports can offer a healthy alternative to idle time, especially for youngsters from at-risk neighborhoods.
23. Sports is the "official headquarters" of positive mentoring in our society, notably by the thousands of firm, fair and caring coaches who work with children.
24. Team sports provide a child with the opportunity to focus on something bigger than oneself.
25. Sports can strengthen the bonds between parents and children, and it can help bridge a generational gap.
26. Sports can create powerful and lifelong bonds among young athletes and between young athletes and their coaches.
27. Sports can serve as a source of personal, family and community vitality.
28. Sports can teach a child about the importance of preparation.
29. Sports can help a child learn the value of setting goals, and develop the perseverance to attain the goals.
30. Sports can help a child learn to deal with different types of authority, from the coach, to the captain, to the referee.
31. Sports can help a child learn to deal maturely with unpleasant people and situations.
32. Sports can help a child learn how to manage a passion.
33. Sports can help a child learn that it is okay to resist peer pressure.
34. Sports can help a child learn to build trust, particularly with teammates.
35. Sports can help a child learn the value of delayed gratification.
36. And, at its best, sports can help us believe that anything is possible!
The 23 Bad Things About Sports
1. Sports can encourage a child to focus so intently on becoming a star that the child neglects other essential areas of life.
2. Sports offer the most common avenue to adolescent acclaim, a fleeting journey that will end soon - and often abruptly.
3. Sports can cause a child to fall into a pattern of rationalizing unacceptable behavior. A good example is the athlete who becomes so competitive that he/she will do anything to win, convincing himself/herself that the ends justify the means.
4. A few sports foster a culture of violence. Such a misguided culture too often spills over into barbaric acts in and out of competition, and also produces a copycat reaction among some impressionable young athletes.
5. Sports can produce an unhealthy level of stress in a child, particularly a child who is pushed to excel and who feels a failure with every loss.
6. Sports can produce irrational, boorish behavior among parents and athletes.
7. Sports can produce many athletes who are negative role models.
8. Sports can produce many coaches who are negative role models.
9. Sports can produce many parents who are negative role models, especially those who overvalue athletic achievement.
10. Sports, even team sports, can promote reasons for selfish behavior.
11. Dreams of sports glory can induce some parents to completely lose perspective of the really important things in their child's life, especially that the athlete is a child.
12. Sports can chip away at a child's self-esteem. A child who falls short of athletic goals or who perceives that one is valued only for athletic ability may lack a sense of value and self-worth off the field.
13. The desire to win can lead some young athletes to turn to harmful, illegal substances.
14. Sports can be so time-consuming that it leaves some athletes with little time for studies or social life.
15. Sports can be a distraction from serious academic pursuit. At the highest level of intercollegiate competition, colleges are producing magnificent athletes who, in many cases, are ill-equipped to engage in any meaningful life's work.
16. From blaming referees for poor calls to listening to those who say, "you are being treated unfairly," sports can be a haven for excuses.
17. Sports can allow many who are physically gifted to behave like arrogant bullies.
18. Sports can allow many who are physically gifted to underestimate the real meaning of hard work.
19. The link between sports stardom and arrested development is far too common.
20. The "trample the opponent" philosophy espoused by some coaches and parents sends the wrong message about the core value of empathy.
21. When sports are more important to the parent than the child, it can create distance and resentment, particularly when a child's performance does not live up to parental hopes and expectations.
22. Burnout or injuries from sports can lead to neglect of physical fitness.
23. Finally, sports can teach a child that it is acceptable to cheat or take short cuts to win, especially if coaches and parents turn a blind eye toward such practices. Gamesmanship tactics such as "orchestrated chatter" in youth league baseball to distract the batter, or flopping in basketball, when a defensive player fakes an offensive foul by falling to the floor, are frequently encouraged by coaches and parents, and employed by young athletes. Acceptance of these tactics fosters a belief that such behaviors are not only acceptable but admirable; to win at any cost is okay.
The 10 Reasons an Athlete Must Adhere to High Standards of Behavior.
An important point for your young player to understand is that being an athlete places the youngster in the "much greater public scrutiny" category.
Here are the ten reasons why:
1. The behavior of athletes is more closely observed than that of other students — both in school and by the general public.
2. As much as any group, athletes are judged by the company they keep. This fact may require an athlete to disassociate from those who are not adhering to high standards of behavior.
3. The misbehavior of athletes is a media lightening rod - far more so than the misbehavior of most other students.
4. The misbehavior of an athlete can have highly public and embarrassing, if not devastating, consequences to the athlete's personal reputation.
5. The misbehavior of an athlete can be a source of great public embarrassment to the athlete's family.
6. The misbehavior of an athlete can have highly public and embarrassing, if not devastating, consequences to the reputation of the team, coaching staff and school.
7. The misbehavior of athletes can get coaches fired - whether or not the coach had anything to do with the misbehavior.
8. The academic status of athletes, including SAT scores and failing grades, is considered fair game by the media.
9. Rules violations and penalties imposed by a coach on the athlete are considered fair game by the media.
10. Considerate behavior by an athlete produces a generous amount of good will; inconsiderate behavior by an athlete produces a disproportionate amount of ill will.
The Five Principals of Honorable Competition.
Tell your child that the following principles are at the heart of learing to compete honorably:
- Respect the game. This includes showing respect for opponents, referees, coaches and fans.
- Play by the rules, and within the spirit of the rules. Do not try to get away with cheating or taking shortcuts just because you think no one will notice or catch you. The only real victories are honest victories, untainted by cheating or gamesmanship.
- Play your best. Understand that doing your best does not mean embarrassing or humiliating your opponent.
- Don't punch back, play harder. When provoked, an athlete should ascend to the highest level of honorable competition by increasing focus and intensity, not by reacting in an undisciplined, unproductive way.
The "Circle of Concern" Exercise
When lecturing to high school and college students (and parents!) I often ask them to do the following:
Draw a circle
- Write down within the circle those groups you really care about, like your family, your personal friends and your teammates.
- Now, confidentially place outside the circle one or more groups you don't really care about. (This step generally causes some to hold back, but with gentle prodding most will agree to confidentially write down one or more groups.)
I then point out following:
- At-risk male youth in gangs accord their fellow gang members considerations such as civility, respect and loyalty. The same is true with many of those who associate with other negative groups/forces in our society.
- When gang members step outside of their very small circle of concern, they care little about those outside the circle and often do horrible things to them. It is as if those outside the circle are somehow not human.
My final step in the exercise is to encourage the audience to always try to widen their circle of concern to include those with whom they may have little in common. I tell them that, "the wider our circles, the better the chances for a civil and just society." I also point out that a problem with some coaches is that they foster within their teams a "small circle approach."
I strongly urge you to engage your child - and yourself - in this exercise.
Step Two for your Essay
Choose a topic. When choosing your topic, also choose the title for your essay.
Step Three for your Essay
Make sure to observe the 500 word count. Unfortunately, we will not be able to review essays that exceed 500 words.
Step Four for your Essay
Submit your essay to email@example.com. Please make sure to include your name, the title of the essay, and your e-mail address at the very top of your submission.
Essay Dates of Importance
You may submit your essay any time before October 15th, 2020. Winners will be announced on November 15th. Winners will receive a National Sportsmanship Day essay contest winner certificate, as well as a press release that you may use with your local media.
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