As more than 11,000 Portland Public Schools and Portland Interscholastic League student-athletes stream back to school and into their sports seasons, let's pause to consider why.
Some play for fun and some for friendship. Others play to win games, glory or the goal of a college scholarship.
But no matter those surface reasons, and regardless of what scoreboard success they achieve, the real "why" for all their hard work is to prepare for life after organized sports.
Whether their competitive sports careers end at 18, 28 or 38, it will come. School sports must prepare youth for all of life's challenges throughout those years and the ones that follow. There is no end to the education sport offers, but only if we as educators see to it.
Administrators and coaches especially — but also parents and student-athletes themselves — can capitalize on the full potential of the school sports experienceonly when we see and seize all its inherent teachable moments.
School sports must prepare youth for all of life's challenges throughout those years and the ones that follow. There is no end to the education sport offers, but only if we as educators see to it.
Nothing can be more important than teaching our youth perseverance, teamwork, discipline, commitment, confidence, compassion and competitiveness. These traits, qualities and actions are key aspects of the character-development for our youth to be successful in sports and beyond.
That is why PIL is partnering with Positive Coaching Alliance-Portland, the local chapter of a national nonprofit organization committed to developing "Better Athletes, Better People" through youth and high school sports. Together, we will conduct group workshops for coaches, and for student-athletes and their parents to deliver the Positive Coaching Alliance messages and techniques that can improve athletic achievement while also focusing on the character education and life lessons that provide the higher values of school sports.
Together, we will learn and implement some common vocabulary, such as "Honoring the Game." This is our code of sportsmanship that entails respect for rules, opponents, officials, teammates and oneself.
That is just one aspect of the training and development that will benefit our coaches and athletes. Others revolve around how to help student-athletes get the most out of themselves — more than they may think possible — and how to create an environment where youth receive the type of emotional support they need to thrive.
What does all this mean to you? It means you will see incredibly competitive athletes who pursue winning with every bit of their fiber. You will hear parents and other spectators cheering positively, certainly for their own teams and often for their opponents, as well. Most importantly, you will feel throughout your future the impact of student-athletes whom you will recognize for their contributions to our community even long after their playing days are done.