Play the positive game

Published 2:35 pm Tuesday, July 21, 2009

When I was growing up in a small town in North Carolina, playing baseball or football meant finding a group of friends and a vacant lot.

Nowadays, sports are increasingly organized. Responsible parents cannot just allow their children to roam the neighborhood in search of pick-up games.

A child wishing to enjoy a team sport soon learns that the only real option is to join an organized league; thus, new phrases such as “I’m a soccer mom” developed almost overnight.

Parents find that they must exert extra effort to ensure that today’s athletic experience is truly educational for their children. It can’t be about winning at all costs, which can, unfortunately, come to mean winning by cheating or winning at the expense of finishing homework.

The NCAA carved out Division II to create a special place for student athletes searching for growth opportunities that would include academic achievement and positive societal attitudes, while also affording them the opportunity to engage in high-level athletics competition. It is that balance of learning opportunities that sets Division II universities apart.

This year, for the first time, the University of Montevallo will participate within the Peach Belt Conference, a conference of like-minded Division II universities.

According to its vision statement, the PBC is committed to “providing a forum for participation in athletic, academic, and co-curricular events” under Division II. Note the emphasis on academic and co-curricular events, not just athletic contests.

Member universities stress a positive environment, high graduation rates, and participation in community service.

Look for our first Peach Belt Conference contest in early September. Families with children are more than welcome. We’d love to see you cheering on our Falcons!