With football season in full swing, I have been thinking about how the values we teach in Scouting also are applicable on the gridiron. Earlier this year I was pleased to see the NFL present its first-ever recognition for outstanding sportsmanship, The Art Rooney Award, named for the late Hall of Famer and founding owner of the Pittsburgh Steelers. As a long-time Pittsburgher, I was particularly happy to see that Mr. Rooney’s legacy of good sportsmanship and fairness to everyone honored in this way. (By the way, the inaugural winner of The Art Rooney Trophy was Larry Fitzgerald of the Arizona Cardinals.)
Being a good Scout means being a good sport. The notion of Scouting and sportsmanship being linked is nothing new. Look no further than the foreword of the sixth edition of “Scouting Games” by Scouting’s founder, Lord Robert Baden-Powell:
The training of the Boy Scouts is done mainly by means of games, practices and competitions that interest them, and at the same time bring into use the attributes of manliness and good citizenship which we desire to inculcate into them … Through these games, apart from their health – and joy giving properties, we can instill the sense of fair play, discipline, and self-control – in a word, good sportsmanship, among our future men.
The values described by Baden-Powell above – fair play, discipline, self-control – are key components of the lessons we continue to teach our Scouts today. And not just when we instruct them to demonstrate good sportsmanship in games; but also in real life as they grow into our next generation of leaders.
I appreciate the ScouterMom publishing her What is Good Sportsmanship? blog post. It provides a sound reminder of proper behavior at sporting events in accordance with Scouting’s values. I invite you to read and observe this guidance and share it with your Scouts.
A number of studies have shown that a combination of a positive youth development program (like Scouting), coupled with Sports is the best way to raise a young person with a solid values framework. The Scout Oath and Law provide us the template for how we set the example as coaches, mentors and Scouting leaders. By living as examples of these tenets, we can be a strong force for influencing how other adults provide leadership- not just in Scouting activities. Thank you for being a leader not just in Scouting, but in all aspects of the communities we serve.