Purpose of CYO Athletics
(From the Oakland Diocese Official Site)
Every athletic competitor exercises every kind of self-discipline & emdash; they to win a perishable crown, but we an imperishable one.
(I Corinthians 9:15)
A diocese or a parish sponsors a Catholic Youth Organization as one dimension of its total ministry to youth. Athletic programs can help young people toward imperishable crowns as well as perishable ones. A parish CYO program justifies its existence and the sacrifice and expense it entails only if it allows young people to practice Christian attitudes and responsibilities.
In CYO programs, emphasis rests not on the number of games won or lost, but on the participants' attitude in victory or defeat. Learning how to lose is just as important as learning how to win. Learning how to win graciously is more important than winning itself.
CYO programs serve the needs of all youth. They enable the gifted to excel, the less gifted to participate and improve. "Star" athletes and teams do not receive exclusive attention.
Principles of fair play and sportsmanship must govern every game. Dishonesty has no place in CYO competition. CYO competitors must not borrow from professional sports questionable techniques for winning at any cost.
All participants should have the respect of others on their own team and the opposing team. Competitors should regard the opposition as friends, not enemies.
CYO participants should have a spirit of loyalty to CYO ideals, to parish, to coach, and to the team. They should learn patience with and tolerance of those of less ability. They should feel grateful to all who make the CYO program happen. Speech and actions should reflect Christian values.
At times, during the heat of competition, a participant may temporarily forget some rule of conduct. Prompt correction can turn even failures into learning experiences.
Ultimate responsibility for the success of CYO programs lies with the volunteer adult participant. Adults involved in CYO must remember that the program exists for the Christian growth of young people. Conduct of adults must always model Christian values and virtues. When adults forget the primary focus of CYO, the program becomes destructive. When adults remain faithful to the Christian ideals of CYO, they exercise a unique and rewarding ministry to the young with whom they come in contact.
"Run to win," St. Paul advises (I Cor. 9:24). In CYO athletics, all who compete can win, if they run to win the real prize; closer union with Jesus Christ.
CYO POINTS OF EMPHASIS
1. PRAYER Prayer is encouraged with young people in CYO. All CYO activities begin with prayer. Prior to each game, the home team is responsible for leading a prayer with both teams assembled at center court. At track and cross country meets, participants and coaches will assemble for prayer prior to each meet. Parish CYO programs should encourage prayer during team practices and consider an annual parish CYO Mass.
2. GOOD SPORTSMANSHIP Taunting, baiting and rough play will not be tolerated. For CYO to reflect Christian values, coaches must emphasize good sportsmanship. Coaches will set sportsmanship goals with their teams and discuss proper conduct. Coaches and players should never show disrespect to game officials. Coaches with concerns about officiating should contact their athletic director or write comments on the reverse of the scoresheet following a game.
3. SPECTATOR BEHAVIOR Good sportsmanship includes good spectators. Spectators must cheer positively and never shout derogatory remarks to coaches, opposing players or game officials. Coaches must emphasize good spectator behavior at their preseason parent meeting by explaining proper spectator behavior and the CYO Code of Conduct. Coaches, players or spectators may never approach game officials after a contest for explanations of calls or to comment on the game. Coaches are responsible for the behavior of their spectators and should act immediately to stop any unruly behavior.
4. ALL PLAY The all play rule guarantees each child minimum playing time. "In addition, in each game, each child shall play the minimum time equal to the time of one quarter. Athletic Directors shall monitor their program's coaches for compliance. Repeated violation shall be a breach of sportsmanship. (CYO Bylaws) Coaches, under the supervision of their athletic directors, should be certain that all players receive playing time beyond minimum.
5. NOT RUNNING UP SCORES Children have more fun when a contest is close. There is no place in CYO to humiliate an opponent. In basketball, when ahead by a large margin, coaches are expected to not trap at half court, play all non-starter players extensively, play a tight zone and not fast break slowing the tempo of the game. Coaches who run up the score may be suspended.
6. ELIGIBILITY CYO eligibility rules reflect that CYO teams are parish or Catholic school based, not "club" or city teams. Children should not practice or participate on a team until their eligibility is verified by the parish athletic director. Use of an ineligible player, knowingly or unknowingly shall result in forfeiture of the games.
7. KEEP CYO FUN! CYO is for players and is not a spectator sport. Coaches must always be positive, praising and instructing, not shouting negatively or demeaning players. Good coaches build self esteem, emphasizing the skills and social aspects of sport, rather than winning. Parents must be supportive and not place undue pressure on their child to succeed. All in CYO must keep the outcome of the game in perspective.