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The game is down to the wire as you move the ball down the field. Suddenly the crowd between you and the goalkeeper opens, and you take the kick. It’s in, and you have just scored the game winning goal. As your team comes to congratulate you, the opposing team also has a few things to say and refuses to shake hands. Hopefully, that will be the end of it and you won’t also hear from them on social media, but you never know. Good sportsmanship can’t be taken for granted.

Defining good sportsmanship can be a challenge, as “good” is a relative term, even among Christian communities. School pride often fuels deep feelings of competition that lead players and fans to blur boundaries. This confusion was one of the reasons that PCA’s Head of School, Dr. Larry Taylor, initiated the first ever TAPPS District 1-6A HOS/AD/Student meeting to discuss sportsmanship.

photo from PrestonwoodPCA Twitter
Students from all schools in the TAPPS District 1-6A met to discuss sportsmanship and develop a Code of Honor.

All schools in the TAPPS District 1-6A including John Paul II, Trinity Christian Academy, Bishop Dunne, Liberty Christian, Nolan, Parish, Ursuline and Bishop Lynch were invited to discuss a new Code of Honor for our District.

Dr. Taylor suggested the meeting to address the increasing number of instances regarding poor or questionable behavior surrounding sporting events. Last Wednesday, student-athletes, coaches and administrators from district schools gathered in the Horner Training Center to develop a new Code of Honor. The meeting even caught the attention of local media with both NBC5 and the Plano Star Courier in attendance.

Athletes representing the Lions included Seniors Mikayla Bardwell, Lexi Colan, Wiley Green, and Jeremiah Lewis and Juniors Austin Stogner and Solomon Turner.

The theme of the meeting was “Competition with Honor.” The vision of the meeting was to discuss sportsmanship with other attendees and brainstorm new ways to make more specific guidelines when it comes to behavior on and off the field. The ideas brought up in the meeting will be used to create a draft for a new Code of Honor that will be established over the next year.

The athletes appreciated having a voice on the issue. Mikayla, who is a Tennessee commit for golf, said, “My calling and who I am in Christ leads me to know that respect for each person is important and that everyone is important. Respect for each other means a lot.”

Students were eager to invest their ideas in the group breakout session. Ideas included strengthening accountability on and off the field so that players and students are held responsible for disrespectful actions. Also, fostering a sense of humility and respect into players across the district will spur more positive play on the field and in the stands.

Wiley, quarterback for the Varsity Lions, said, “It is all about having a good mindset towards each other as players and promoting good sportsmanship between the schools.”

The meeting generated a variety of valuable ideas from enforcing punishments more firmly to creating solid solutions to meeting more often to discuss these issues.

Former Texas State Representative Mr. Scott Turner gave the charge in the meeting. Rep. Turner, who played in the NFL, focused on how humility is necessary to foster respect for others.  He said, “Courage will be vital as we carry out the vision from this day forward.” If implemented, the ideas in this meeting could change actions and attitudes of players in this district and, one day, in others.

A new Code of Honor will not be meant to restrict competition or diminish incentives to work hard. Instead, the goal will be to promote good sportsmanship and positive encouragement to players during healthy competition instead of demonstrating negative actions or words towards opposing teams.

Athletic Director and Head Football Coach Chris Cunningham invested in the meeting as he has seen how both good and poor sportsmanship can influence young athletes and affect their attitudes both during game time and in life in general.

“Good sportsmanship starts with humility that says this is about something much bigger than me. It is an appreciation for our opponent. The stronger the opponent, the bigger our opportunities to grow as people and players,” said Coach Cunningham.

With new ideas for promoting sportsmanship and an open mind, administrators will continue meeting throughout the year to solidify the new Code of Honor.

 

 

 

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