Developing Character Through Athletics

by Justin Chau, Lower School Faculty
As a phys. ed. teacher and coach, I have the pleasure of playing games for a career. What is most rewarding for me is seeing how athletics can shape a student’s self-worth, confidence, independence and leadership. These are important life skills. It’s remarkable to be part of helping the boys develop their character.
Whether they are learning or improving the fundamentals in a sport, the boys must trust one another, be honest when challenged in the game and be good sportsmen if facing defeat. This isn’t always easy. I often remind myself that the boys might not have the mental maturity to overcome certain challenges. But I can be wrong about that too.
This past season, our boys on the U12 D1 soccer team nearly had a perfect season record. You could say our confidence was a bit too high going into our final CISAA playoffs. That’s when our boys faced defeat for the first time: losing (horrifically) in both of our games and not getting a single goal in either game. It hurt to watch the tears storming down the boys’ faces as their perfect season came to an end. But - and here is where their character came into play - our boys would not let this defeat define their efforts. The team knew they had plenty of accomplishments to be proud of throughout the season. In these moments we find that character - grit, compassion and respect - can help soothe the pain of defeat.
In everything we do in athletics at Crescent, character is key. Here are some things we think about in my classes - and often the boys will remind each other about these principles:
  • Acknowledge that this is an opportunity to represent your school
  • Participate to try your best and challenge others to be better too
  • Respect your opponents for their skills and technical abilities
  • Respect your referee/officials, coaches and parents for their time and energy
  • Shaking hands is a sign of respect to your opponent and to the sport that you have the privilege to play
  • You will face challenges, sacrifices, and hardships. Be sure to be accountable for you and your team’s actions
  • Teamwork is a life skill, something that you can become better at
  • To not forget the importance of a growth mindset
  • Having fun and smiling can be part of competition
As I teach and coach our younger Crescent boys, I enjoy watching them develop their character through athletics. The lessons that the boys learn during our drills, practices and games will inevitably shape the Men of Character that they will become.

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