What's Happening in Character?

View from the Sidelines: A Character-Focused Half-Time

Posted by Dave Keller on Wed, Sep 9, 2015 @ 12:09 PM

by Dr. Dave Keller, Director of Strategic Initiatives & Promising Practices

The game was OK… but what a halftime!

This past week, I had the opportunity to visit the tiny rural town of Chester, Texas (about

100 miles northeast of Houston).  On Friday night, I received an invitation to ride into town to watch the local Chester High School football game.  

I accepted the invitation (what else was I going to do in Chester on a Friday night???) I know what you’re thinking.  Texas High School football.  Friday Night Lights.  Your mind is likely racing to images of stadiums that cost tens of millions of dollars to support massive football factories that fuel local economies and provide fresh recruits for top collegiate programs.

Ehhh…not so much in Chester, Texas.  Chester’s stadium doesn’t even have bleachers. There are some concrete steps built into the side of a small hill, but most fans just bring lawn chairs.

Yes, it is true that Texas is fertile ground for collegiate football recruiters.  Not so much in towns like Chester.  It’s highly unlikely any player from either team will ever see a collegiate roster.  Chester’s school population is so small they don’t even play 11-on-11 football.  They play “6-man football,” a scaled down (but highly entertaining) version of the game to allow smaller schools to compete.

Full disclosure: I totally, thoroughly, completely LOVED this experience.  The people were astonishingly friendly and welcoming.  The crowd size seemed to exceed the population of the entire town --- plus some.  It was truly a glimpse into small town America.  

No doubt similar scenes were playing out in small towns throughout the country.  But my lasting memory of that night had nothing to do with the fun atmosphere or the fierce on-field competition.

It was what happened at halftime.

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Topics: Character in Sports,

Why are Sports Valuable for Our Kids?

Posted by Rob McManamy on Fri, Feb 20, 2015 @ 15:02 PM

by Rob McManamy

Okay, that’s it. I now have to say something about the maddening Little League World Series cheating scandal that saw Chicago’s Jackie Robinson West (JRW) team, the first-ever national champion team comprised entirely of African-Americans, stripped of its title for knowingly violating geographic rules for recruiting players. 

What was the last straw for me? When Rev. Jesse Jackson was reported to have said, “You don’t have to be guilty to be crucified.”

In reference to a team named after an honest-to-goodness African-American hero, he equated JRW’s trials to that of Jesus Christ.

Let’s follow the suggested analogy for a moment. If the innocent young members of the JRW team represent “Jesus” here, then who exactly is playing the role of “Judas”? Who betrayed the team?

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Topics: Character in Sports,, McManamy Rob