Sportsmanship guru visits Chatfield
by Mike Grieve
He is referred to as the "guru" of sportsmanship. He is Frank
White, and Monday he visited Chatfield, speaking for most of the day at Chatfield Public
Schools, and in the evening to a group of adults.
"The problem in youth sports is parents," White said. "There are
more reports now than ever before in youth sports, about violence," he said.
"Sportsmanship has basically become extinct," White said.
"This may not be happening in Chatfield, but it is happening in Minnesota."
"Athletics are very good for our country, but the model we've created is an adult
model for kids," White said. "There's a tremendous amount of
pressure on kids to play sports, and to win," he said.
White said at some schools, profanity is being hollered at some games, and it's being
allowed. He said that type of behavior can cross over to other areas, like the
classroom, or the community in general. "If profanity spreads to the
classroom, you would expect them to be removed, but some districts allow it to happen at
sporting events," White said. "It's all of our jobs to promote
sportsmanship, not just the athletic director." "If everyone
believes in a program, then sports can return to what it used to be," he said.
He says it's good for schools to have a code of conduct, but that if there aren't
consequences that go with the breaking of that code, it's just like having a speed limit
without consequences. "A code of conduct should include expected
behaviors," White said.
White was introduced by Connie Walker, activities director at Chosen Valley High
School. Frank attended the University of Minnesota, and is currently the
manager of Recreation Program. He has been a volunteer youth sports coach for
15 years and he holds a coaching certificate through the National Alliance for Youth
Sports. He is a 1999 recipient of the Outstanding World Citizen Award, in
recognition of distinguishing service in establishing peace sites at schools and parks,
and the promotion of a peaceful healthy world.