Brought to you by the Liberty Mutual Insurance Responsible Sports program.
Parents, teach your kids that honoring the game means respecting the sport's ROOTS, where ROOTS stands for: Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates and Self.
The Elements of ROOTS
- Rules. Responsible Sport Parents refuse to bend or break the rules, even if they think they can get away with it.
- Opponents. Recognize that a worthy opponent brings out the best in players and takes a "fierce-yet-friendly" attitude into competition. Teach your children that when a whistle blows, help downed opponents to their feet. After games, win or lose, shake their hands, look them in the eye and congratulate them on a game well-played. Consider emulating the principle yourself by shaking the hands of the parents of the opposing players. Talk about setting a great example for your kids!
- Officials. Respect officials even when you disagree with them. It’s tempting to join the chorus of criticism for the officials, but stop and think: what good can really come from this? You may not realize it, but your kids have a special ear for your yelling in the stands and in some cases can find themselves humiliated or embarrassed by your yelling. Remind yourself: officials are people too, trying to do the best they can.
- Teammates. When you talk to your kids about ROOTS, teach them that they should never do anything to shame the team (on or off the field). Do what you can to lift teammates up and help them reach their potential. Being a good teammate means also being a good person.
- Self. Live up to your own standards of honoring the game, even when others don't. If the opposing players, coaches or parents act out or somehow disrespect the game, remind your athlete that they still must not.
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