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quote: Sports violence is one of the most accepted type of negative behavior and abuse in our society.

Throughout his respected career in recreation and athletics management, Frank White has seen the power that sports can have in a young person's life.   He knows firsthand of the lessons a child can learn from involvement in sports: lessons about teamwork, confidence, physical fitness, sportsmanship, competition, leadership, respect, humility and many more.

He has also seen violence and abuse in sports and the negative impact these behaviors can have on youth.    White says that criticism, displays of temper and intense pressure are some of the negative behaviors often exhibited by adults, spectators and coaches that profoundly impact our youth in a negative manner.

With a firm respect for sports and their potential to enrich a young person's life, White founded Respect Sports with a two-part mission.  First, he aims to raise people's awareness about the violence and abuse that occur in sports in each community.  White reminds his audiences how vitally important it is "to examine the values that we are teaching."  The second part of the Respect Sports mission is to provide a model for leaders, administrators, parents and participants to create a new direction for youth sports that is safer, healthier and more positive.

Violence.gif (6162 bytes)White believes that something has been lost in youth sports.  " There has been a dramatic shift in youth sports away from a sense of enjoyment, physical fitness and sportsmanship to intense competition," he says. "In our attempts to create a better program for our youth, we’ve used an 'adult' or 'professional' model for these programs, creating a winning-isn’t-everything-it’s-the-only-thing' attitude."

He believes that adults must work at teaching kids the benefits of sports.  "If it's true that 'it takes an entire village to raise a child,' then each member of a community has a place and responsibility to solve this challenge," White says.

White has given his presentation, Violence In Sports: It's Not A Game Anymore, to coaches, athletic directors, parents, teachers, recreation professionals, sports officials, and kids .  The program emphasizes the importance of the involvement of all people.  "Good citizenship can be demonstrated anywhere," White says.  "It has a place
in classrooms, hallways, homes, workplaces, when you're with friends....anywhere."  This kind of respectful behavior in youth athletics will result in the establishment of standards that foster a healthy and safe enviroment.

White's session, however, does more than just stress the importance of promoting a respectful environment.  The sessions provide an established and useful model for reducing negative behavior by participants, coaches and spectators.

Sports, White says, have historically served as a conduit that invites people to become part of their community.  Therefore, he believes that respectful sports have not only benefits for the individual, but can be an effective vehicle for promoting positive citizenship. "Sportsmanship and citizenship are virtually synonymous," he says.   "All of us should cultivate and nurture a sports culture that values learning, respect for self, respect for others and respect for the game by focusing on sportsmanship."


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