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Honor the Game Script

I love the game of football, and I hope you do too. Football has a long history and is one of the most played sports in America. A lot of great things happen on the football field. I feel that it is an honor to be involved in the sport. That's why I want to talk to you about Honoring the Game. Now, I am sure many of you have had parents or coaches talk to you about sportsmanship, or what it means to be a "good sport." What does it mean to you to be a good sport? (Answers may include "play fair," "don't cheat" etc.) Sportsmanship is important, but in order to get the most out of this football season, I want you to honor the game. We say that Honoring the Game goes to the ROOTS of the matter: R-O-O-T-S. Each letter in ROOTS stands for an important part of football that we must respect. The R stands for Rules. The first O is for Opponents. The next O is for Officials. T is for Teammates, and the S is for Self.

R is for Rules
The rules of football are what allow us to keep the game fair. Respect for the rules is important, even when it's possible to break them without getting caught. I want you to play by the rules, even if you think you won't get caught if you break them, and even if the opponent doesn’t seem to be Honoring them. Breaking the rules dishonors the game, even if it means that we win.

O is for Opponents
Without opponents, we could have no game. A good opponent makes us do our best. Sometimes your opponents are friends of yours. I want you to respect your opponents, and remember they are out there to have fun just like us. I want you to try your hardest to win, not because you hate your opponent, but because you want to play your best. I promise that I will show respect for opposing coaches and teams, and I expect you to do the same.

O if for Officials
It is very important to respect officials. Often, this can be the most difficult part of Honoring the Game, so we need to remember to keep it as a focus when we play. Officials have been selected and trained to enforce rules, and they have a very hard job. Without the officials the game would be unsafe and unfair. Officials are not perfect (just like coaches, athletes and parents!) and sometimes make mistakes. However, there is no excuse for treating officials with disrespect when they make errors. I want you to show respect for officials, even when you disagree with the call. I promise to do the same thing.

T is for Teammates
A big part of football is the team. Being with your teammates should be fun. Later in life you will often be part of a team, and it is important to learn to work together. I hope you feel a commitment to each other as teammates and that you will agree to always play as hard as you can in practice and in games. Please encourage and support each other on and off the playing field.

S is for Self
Some people only Honor the Game when their opponents do, but I want us to Honor the Game no matter what the other team or its fans do. I want us to be the kind of team that Honors the Game even when others do not because we set our own personal standards. And we live up to them no matter what. We have respect for ourselves and would never do anything to dishonor the game.

So what do we mean when we say that Honoring the Game goes to the ROOTS of the matter? Respect for : Rules, Opponents, Officials, Teammates, and Self. If you do these five things, you are Honoring the Game. You and your teammates will get the most out of our season, and you will join the great tradition that is football. Now let's Honor the Game starting right now at this practice, especially when we scrimmage.

Who can give me an example of how we Honor the Game of football?

Adapted from the Positive Coaching Alliance (PCA). Visit the PCA at http://www.positivecoach.org to learn more about its efforts to improve youth sports.