This past week, I headed to Embry-Riddle Aeronautical University in Daytona Beach, Florida to take part in a President’s Forum on Sports Ethics. You can view the forum presentation below.
I knew little about Embry-Riddle university beyond its reputation as the top aerospace and aviation university in the world. But, I came away impressed with the university’s commitment to character.
The forum was moderated by Marc Bernier, the nationally-respected host and interviewer on WNDB Radio. Marc also serves as a Special Assistant for Community and Government Relations at Embry-Riddle University and started the President’s Speakers Series in 2010.
I joined Steve Ridder on the forum. He is the long-time men’s basketball coach at Embry-Riddle and a member of the NAIA Coaches Hall-of-Fame. He also served as Athletic Director for 23-years and said every student-athlete at Embry-Riddle has to be committed to “The Package”, meaning they had to commit to being a great student and a great person, not just to being a great player.
We discussed many sports and life issues including performance-enhancing drugs, the goals of youth sports, and whether cheating in sports in more prevalent today than in past years. We delved into our “The Way You Win Matters™ message, and talked about the elephant in the room — the fear of failure and how it can and should be addressed at the youth level.
Coach Ridder spoke about a life lesson he would like to see:
“How about we teach everybody on this earth that it’s really good to embrace other people’s success, instead of being jealous. (We) get up every day and there are kind of two paths that you can take. One, how much can I accumulate. I just take, just take, just take, just take. It’s the disease, it’s all about me. And then there’s the other group that get up every day… They are servant leaders. And, they want to do great things for other people. There’s no doubt about it, any of these teams sitting here tonight that will win a championship, (will do it) because they have teammates that care about each other and they are willing to give. They don’t just take.”
This is a powerful point to make. I hope it resonated with the audience as much as it did me.
Overall, the evening was upbeat. I left the Embry-Riddle campus feeling good about the forum and appreciative of the chance to take part in the discussion. There was the feeling that sports can do a lot to promote positive character traits and the belief that winning with integrity is worth the commitment it takes.
It was a good night.