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Gerardo Castillo Ceballos, Professor of the School of Education and Psychology of the University of Navarra

Sport: a reservation of values for a conformist society

Tue, 24 Jul 2018 11:20:00 +0000 Published in Las Provincias and Diario de Navarra

There are many testimonials that speak for themselves about the values of sport and how they are internalized by those who practice it, especially if they have the support of their family. One of them is that of Rafa Nadal.

 Rafa Nadal was trained, since his childhood, by his uncle and mentor Toni, who trained him in tennis technique while instilling in him the values of the sport. This combination of objectives would be decisive in the forging of the future champion. Toni affirms that what has always distinguished Rafa from other tennis players is his willpower, his courage and his spirit of self-improvement. These values would be the harvest of the seed sown by his grandparents, his parents and his coach. They helped him forge his personality and grow in strength, order and humility.

When Rafa started to win matches Toni would tell him: "you've been good, but don't brag; tennis is just getting a ball over a network". Every time he trained or played, Rafa would carry his luggage and leave the locker room as tidy as he found it. Today, after being issue one, he continues to do so.

The only internship does not guarantee the development of values. The educational is not only the learning of techniques and skills, but also that the player acquires good habits in his improvement staff.

 Sport is formative when it allows the development of both psychomotor aspects and partner-affective aspects; when it conceives competition as self-improvement and not as a confrontation with others.

The well oriented sports internship promotes the social integration of very different people; it generates a sense of belonging among team members; it favors commitment to something or someone; it fosters self-knowledge, detecting one's own capabilities and limitations.  

At a time when we lament the social crisis of values, we cannot miss the best way to develop them in a natural and stimulating way: formative sport. Every family and every high school should be (according to its possibilities) a school of sport values. But in fact, are they? In many cases not. The physical Education is usually more "physical" than educational.

 In the defense of parents and teachers, it must be said that the social environment does not financial aid: the predominant model values technique and physical strength much more than social and ethical values. In addition, there is a generalized mentality that sport (especially competitive sport) is justified only by results, as denoted by expressions of this subject: "You have to win no matter what." The maturity staff provided by internship sports at the age of training is hardly valued.

With this mentality, it is not surprising that today's children and adolescents encounter bad examples on the sports fields, which prevent them from discovering and living values. One such example is that of hooligan parents. Hooligan is an English word that refers to young fans of a soccer team who organize themselves as gangs and engage in fights. Lately it has been applied to some of the parents who accompany their young children when the latter play a match. Throughout the match, the "referee" parent shoutedly corrects the referee's decisions; the "coach" parent never stops giving instructions to his son. On some occasions the parents engage in aggressive behavior towards each other, which continues to make the headlines in the news section of the newspapers.

 A cartoon by Ferran refers to this problem. A father enters a sports facility accompanied by two young children and they find a notice:

"Physical and verbal violence prohibited on the premises.

-Is it a ban for the players," asks the father.

-No, it's for the parents," answers one of the sons.

Teens and young adults who are serious about sports are less likely to be addicted than those who are not. They also tend to have more and better friends.

If it is achieved that the physical Education is not reduced to physical exercise, but includes attitudes and formative habits, a great step will have been taken towards the promotion of personal and social values.

Danny Gable, Olympic wrestling champion, stated that gold medals are not made of gold; they are made of sweat, determination and a hard-to-find alloy called grit.