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We are privileged to have an active board of directors, including today’s contributor, Jim Hallihan from the Iowa Sports Foundation.  Jim’s been an integral part of our success since the beginning of our organization.  Here’s a bit about how he became more involved:

In the Spring of 1999 I was able to attend the Pursuing Victory With Honor summit in Arizona.  The goal of this summit was to meet with other sport leaders across the country who had a desire to reinstate character in sports and take the necessary steps to improve the sports climate in high school and college.

It was a tremendous three days of meetings in the desert and such notables attended as the late John Wooden, the legendary coach of the 10 time National Basketball Champion UCLA Bruins; Bob Costas, NBC Sports; Dan Gable, all time greatest wrestling coach in NCAA history; Richard Lapchick, director Center for the Study of Sport in Society; Jim Livengood at the time the President of the National Association of Collegiate Athletic Directors; Barry Mano, president, National Association of Sports Officials; Robert Maxson, at the time President Cal State, Long Beach; James Moeser then chancellor of Nebraska, Lincoln and now President of U. North Carolina; Tom Selleck, movie and television star and former basketball player at Southern Cal; Grant Teaff, Executive Director of the American Football Association and Christine Grant, former women’s athletic director at the Univ. of Iowa.  There were many more outstanding attendees, but this partial list gives you a sample of the type of professional sport people that had a sincere interest in changing the culture of sport from “win at all cost” to Pursuing Victory with Honor.

The fifty members issued the Arizona Sports Summit Accord to encourage greater emphasis on the ethical and character-building aspects of athletic competition. It is hoped that the framework of principles and values set forth will be adopted and practiced widely.  The preamble states “At its best athletic competition can hold intrinsic value for our society.  It is a symbol of a great ideal: pursuing victory with honor.  The love of sports is deeply embedded in our national consciousness.  The values of millions of participants and spectators are directly and dramatically influenced by the values conveyed by organized sports.  Thus, sports are a major social force that shapes the quality and character of the American culture.  In the belief that the impact of sports can and should enhance the character and uplift the ethics of the nation, we seek to establish a framework of principles and a common language of values that can be adopted and practiced widely.”

We have tried to incorporate these principles in the Iowa Games in the following ways.  In all of our athletic team competition in which officials are utilized, we have the officials rate the players, coaches and fans on sportsmanship and award medals to the top teams.  We also award two $1,000 scholarships to a boy and girl each year who participate in the Games, are juniors in high school and who display great character and service to their communities.  The Iowa Games also recognizes volunteer and officials for their service to the Games as a way to show young people the value of volunteering and being good citizens.  We also select coaches nominated by their teams for the Caring Coach award which recognizes youth coaches in the Iowa Games who put the welfare of the players ahead of any personal desire to win the games.  We also partner with Character Counts In Iowa to present Character Coach of the Year awards to a coach from the Iowa High School Athletic Association and a coach from the Girl’s High School Athletic Union who display outstanding character in their coaching, in their schools and in their communities.

For the past five years we co-host w the Pursuing Victory with Honor Summit which has been held at Iowa State Univ., Univ. of Iowa, Drake University, Univ. of Northern Iowa and Morningside College.  At these summits which are for high school athletes, coaches and administrators, we provide great motivational speakers followed by break out sessions for the attendees and then end the day with action plans developed by the athletes, coaches and administrators. The attendees are to take back to their schools a plan to improve the culture of sport through developing the Six Pillars of Character; Trustworthiness, Respect, Responsibility, Fairness, Caring and Citizenship.  The goal of sports should be to teach young people how to become better citizens.

For more information on the Iowa Sports Foundation and events and awards offered go to www.iowasportsfoundation.org

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