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Incivility in Sports – Choosing Self Restraint

Death of Soccer Referee Ricardo Portillo After Attack By Player

Incivility on Soccer Filed Leaves Referee Dead

The image and business of sports was marred this week by the violent and fatal attack on a referee by a disgruntled team member during a soccer match in Salt Lake City, Utah.  Collectively we mourn this horrific act of incivility and our hearts go out to the family, loved ones and friends of Ricardo Portillo, the 46-year-old referee.   This unspeakable tragedy comes at a time when we celebrate May as Global Civility Awareness Month as designated by the Chases Calendar of Events.   A  time when when families, communities, business and nations can raise their level of attention to acting respectfully, using self control and demonstrating personal responsibility.

While all three principles are important for achieving happy, harmonious and smooth relationships on and off the sports field, it is the self control part of civility that resonates in the context of the fatal accident in Salt Lake City. Civility is a choice.  And in the book “Choosing Civility – The Twenty-Five Rules of Considerate Conduct”, author, Dr. P.M. Forni tells us that “In any given circumstance in life, we have the alternative of stopping and thinking before acting – the alternative of restraint.” Dr. Forni refers to it as “our inner designated driver” and outlines three questions to ask ourselves before rushing into action:

1. Do I really want to do this?

2. Is anybody going to be hurt by this?

3. Will I like having done this?

Using these three questions as a filter or  a template for thoughtful action allows us to make sound decisions with more likely positive outcomes.  Using the filter during spirited conversation, highly competitive team play or moments of peak is not easy.  It takes intent of mind and consistently practicing conscious action to “keep calm and carry on.”

As violence in sports continue to rise, coaches, schools, parents and youth organization leaders are faced with the challenge of  how to teach children on and off the field about being respectful, kind and considerate and modeling this behavior.   As a society we have to take this matter seriously. Lives depend on us doing just that.

Civility is a choice.  Dr. Forni reminds us that “Civility assists us in making choices that increase the quality of our lives.”  For more on civility training programs, please visit  http://bit.ly/ZUF1AK


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