The Purpose of CYO Sports
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.