Minnesota players, parents and coaches under OATHS
December 31, 2003 09:00 PM
With such national incidents involving fathers fighting at a hockey scrimmage and an upset police officer dad issuing a ticket to a "guilty" little league baseball umpire, participants and fans find themselves questioning the purpose, benefits and spirit of youth sports.
To address the concerns regarding sideline and field interactions in a proactive educational manner, Minnesota Youth Soccer Association implemented the Outstanding Ambassadors of Teams Honoring Sportsmanship (OATHS) program in 2001.
MYSA invited its Under-11 and Under-12 boys and girls travelling (competitive) teams to participate in the inaugural program in 2001, and will expand the program to include Under-13 teams this summer.
Teams participating in the OATHS program voluntarily allow referees to rank the behavior of the players, coaches and fans at each of the team’s league games. Referees complete a pre-printed postcard that prompts them to circle a number between one (strongly disagree) and five (strongly agree). The postcard is then mailed to the OATHS Program at the MYSA office where the data is reviewed and tabulated.
The teams with the highest score in each of the categories were honored at the MYSA Tournament of Champions (Chevy Cup) and recognized by leading the Parade of Champions at the National Sports Complex.
During the first season of the program 134 teams (71 girls, 63 boys) participated in the program (participating teams must have had five or more cards returned). Teams honored at the Chevy Cup received a rating of four or five in all areas of player, coach and fan sportsmanship at their games. Of the 12 OATHS teams honored at the event, nine finished the season at .500 or lower.
Incentives for participating in the OATHS programs have been added for the 2002 season. Along with the Chevy Cup ceremony and Parade of Champions, winning OATHS teams will receive a press release for its local paper, a lapel pin or patch for each player, special recognition in MYSA publications, website and Soccer Times, and a free 6" Subway sandwich.
For more information or other educational resources please log on to the MYSA website at www.mnyouthsoccer.org.