Winning every time regardless of the outcome.
Pursuing Victory With Honor
The title of our program “Pursuing Victory With Honor” – makes clear our philosophy that sports best achieves its positive impact on participants and society when everyone plays to win. In fact, without the passionate pursuit of victory much of the enjoyment, as well as the educational and spiritual value, of sports will be lost. Winning is important and trying to win is essential.
Winning is important, but honor is more important. Quality sports programs should not trivialize or demonize either the desire to win or the importance of actually winning. It is disrespectful to athletes and coaches who devote huge portions of their lives to being the best they can in the pursuit of individual victories, records, championships, and medals to dismiss the importance of victory by saying, “It’s only a game.” The greatest value of sports is its ability to enhance the character and uplift the ethics of participants and spectators.
Ethics is essential to true winning. The best strategy to improve sports is not to de-emphasize winning but to more vigorously emphasize that adherence to ethical standards and sportsmanship in the honorable pursuit of victory is essential to winning in its true sense. It is one thing to be declared the winner, it is quite another to really win.
There is no true victory without honor. Cheating and bad sportsmanship are simply not options because they rob victories of meaning and value and replace the inspirational high ideals of true sport with the degrading and petty values of a dog-eat-dog marketplace. Victories attained in dishonorable ways are hollow and degrade the concept of sport.
Ethics and sportsmanship are ground rules. Programs that adopt Pursuing Victory With Honor are expected to take whatever steps are necessary to assure that coaches and athletes are committed to principles of ethics and sportsmanship as ground rules governing the pursuit of victory. Their responsibilities to demonstrate and develop good character must never be subordinated to the desire to win. It is never proper to act unethically to win.
Benefits of sports come from the competition, not the outcome. Quality amateur sports programs are based on the belief that the vital lessons and great value of sports are learned from the honorable pursuit of victory, from the competition itself rather than the outcome. They do not permit coaches or others to send the message that the most important benefits derived from athletic competition can only be achieved when an athlete or a team wins.
Honoring the mission
The Pursuing Victory With Honor project helps interscholastic, intercollegiate, and other youth sports programs better achieve their established missions to promote the physical, mental, social, and moral development of participants. The following are excerpts from various proclamations, mission statements, and codes of conduct. (See a compilation of sports codes of conduct organized by The Six Pillars of Character.)
The T.E.A.M. approach to sportsmanship
This four-point strategy for achieving the objectives of the Pursuing Victory With Honor campaign is captured in the acronym T.E.A.M.: Teach, Enforce, Advocate, and Model. These four elements should guide the design of all elements of programs to promote sportsmanship and foster good character as well as guide interactions with athletes, parents, coaches, officials, and spectators.