Does competitive sports build character?
Tom Fakehany
 

What do you think? Does competitive sports build character?

I personally think the fair answer is: it depends on the coach. Great
coaches, coaches who care about their athletes as people and honor thetraditional spirit of sport as the pursuit of team and individual
excellence, are inevitably character builders. They are, first and
foremost, teachers who measure their success not in victories or records but in their ability to help youngsters reach their highest potential.  Sure they teach techniques and strategies, but by their words and actions they also teach vital life skills and virtues like integrity, fairness, perseverance, courage, self-discipline and all the graces associated with good sportsmanship. The people they coach not only become better performers, they become better human beings, people you'd feel comfortable dating your own children.

On the other hand, coaches who have a more narrow view of their role and measure their success primarily in terms of their wins/losses record or by the number of all-star athletes they produce, often do more harm than good. Under these coaches, athletes often become more selfish, self-absorbed, arrogant and unscrupulous in the pursuit of personal glory and achievements. Even the coach wouldn't want to hang out with them.

It is no small danger to the future of our society and the welfare of
our children that so many coaches fall into the second category. The
recreational and educational goals of youth sports are too often
undermined by volunteer as well as professional coaches who are living out their own fantasies or advancing their own careers at the cost of character. Our children deserve better and it is the job
of parents and school officials to see that they get it.  The game is
bigger than all of us and it's going to be around long after we are
gone. Parents and coaches as caretakers of sports, are responsible to
try to maintain them for the next generations. This responsibility
should not be taken lightly.