Citizenship and Sports



This page was written for the video "Citizenship" in the "In Search of Character" video series. We think you will find it very useful even if you aren't using the videos.


Some thoughts from Dr. Mike on Athletics and Citizenship before you begin:

Being a good citizen is not developed through mere participation in sports. Citizenship is, at its core, social responsibility. It means doing your part for the common good, making your community and its institutions work well, serving the community, and obeying the laws. Citizenship through athletic participation occurs both on and off the playing surface, both in and out of season. Developing good citizen-athletes involves defining and developing the relationship from athlete to athlete, from athlete to team, and from athlete to community. Connecting athletes to the community should be an important part of any athletic program. A coach may remind the athletes that the community supports them through taxes and through attendance at events, and that they have an obligation to give back to the community in some way. The community is part of their team, and it’s role should not go unacknowledged.


Questions for discussion with student athletes: (If you are using the video, ask these questions after viewing. If you are not using the video, skip questions 1 and 5.)

1. How did David Levitt's story make you feel? What did you learn from it? Is it realistic to think that the average teenager could make such an impact, or is David just a special case? (If you are not using the video, skip this question.)

2. Do you think you are a good citizen? Explain.

3. What is a good citizen?

4. Think of yourself as a coach. What would be the benefits of having a team full of athletes who demonstrate good citizenship:

- for the team as a whole?

- for the team's reputation?

- for athlete-to-athlete relations?

- for athlete-to-coach relations?

- for a winning season?

- for possible scholarships to universities?

- for team attitude?

- for locker room morale?

5. Name something you personally could relate to in this video program and tell why. (If you are not using the video, skip this question.)

6. How do we want the community to view us as a team?

7. What kind of reputation do we want for our team with regard to:

- following rules on the playing surface?

- following rules off the playing surface?

- following rules at school?

- following rules in the community?

- following the rules of the athletic code of conduct?

- respecting authority on the playing surface?

- respecting authority at school?

8. How can we help each other become better citizens:

- on the playing surface?

- off the playing surface?

- out of season?

9. What value does our team or sport bring to our community?

10. In what ways does the community contribute to the team?

11. What are some of the things in your community that need improving? What could your team do to help out? What is one community service project we could do that would make our community a better place to live?

12. What special group in the community would we like to adopt this season? What will we do to get them to our games? In what ways will we give them recognition?

13. Name something you personally could relate to in this video program and tell why.

14. What do you think our team is already doing to model good citizenship?

15. You have been hired as a consultant on good character. What three suggestions would you have for improving the level of citizenship on the team?

16. Imagine that someday you are the coach of a team. You need to give the team a brief talk on how citizenship relates to your sport. What would you say?

17. Do you agree or disagree with the following statements? Explain you answer.

I believe citizenship primarily involves activities such as voting, paying taxes and obeying the law.

I believe that giving back to the community in some way is important for athletes.

Our sport is possible without the support of the community.

I think that volunteering to help others is an important part of being a good citizen.

We athletes should get involved in a worthwhile cause in our community.


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