Georgia Seeks to Transform the “Win-at-all-Costs” Sports Culture
The InSideOut Initiative is launching in Georgia August 19 in partnership with the Atlanta Falcons, Georgia High School Association, Atlanta Public Schools, and the NFL Foundation
Atlanta, Georgia – The InSideOut Initiative—a nonprofit aimed at transforming the “win-at-all-costs” sports culture in communities across the country—will launch August 19 at Mercedes-Benz Stadium.
Sports engage more individuals, families, and communities in a shared experience than any other cultural activity, organization or religion. Three out of four American families with school-aged children will have at least one child play an organized sport— approximately 45 million children.
However, youth sports has evolved into a $15 billion industry that promotes early specialization, private one-on-one coaching, multi-team layered participation and a significant financial and emotional investment by parents. Less than 3% of high school athletes will go on to play college athletics and only a fraction of those—less than 1%—will ever play professionally. If the value of youth sports comes solely from winning, then millions of kids lose out on the potential for a life-changing human growth experience.
“For sports to provide students with human growth opportunities and moral development, we must move beyond defining success by the scoreboard and create space in the culture for a higher purpose,” said Jody Redman of the InSideOut Initiative. “The InSideOut Initiative guides communities into reframing the purpose of sports, and building a system that focuses on the development of the educational, social and emotional well-being of each student-athlete.”
Powered by the NFL Foundation and piloted in Colorado and Texas in 2015, the InSideOut Initiative catalyzes partnerships with educational leaders, state athletic associations and local NFL teams to address the brokenness of the sports culture and engages stakeholders in strategic conversations to redefine the role of interscholastic sports in the lives of students and communities.
Georgia is the next state to launch this Initiative, thanks to comprehensive funding from the NFL Foundation. The Georgia High School Association and Atlanta Public Schools are gathering educational leaders to discuss the Initiative and plan for its statewide implementation.
“We are excited to support a program that will bring to the forefront good sportsmanship and the true purpose of school-based athletics,” said Dr. Robin Hines, Executive Director of the Georgia High School Association. “While winning is important, we would like to lose the ‘win-at-all-costs’ mentality that has become so pervasive in our society today. The greatest benefit of sports should be the relationships and life lessons that can be learned from friendly competition.”
“The Atlanta Falcons are proud to support the launch of the InSideOut Initiative throughout the state of Georgia,” said Atlanta Falcons President and CEO, Rich McKay. “We are committed to providing resources that will effectively shape the culture of sports and focus on character development, and the InSideOut Initiative supports our commitment to student-athletes across Georgia.”
APS Athletic Director Jasper Jewell states, “Atlanta Public Schools is thrilled to be a part of the InSideOut Initiative as we continue to expand our minds to create a great culture of success. Our student-athletes deserve the very best from our coaches and athletic directors.”
For sports to provide students with the human growth and moral development opportunities they deserve, we must move beyond defining success by the scoreboard and create space in the culture for a higher purpose. Georgia is committed to creating that space, starting now.
The InSideOut Initiative, sponsored by the National Football League Foundation, is a 501(c)3 nonprofit that works to reclaim the educational purpose of sports. Led by Joe Ehrmann and Jody Redman, the InSideOut Initiative leads communities down a pathway for systemic change—transforming the current “win-at-all-costs” sports culture where the value is often defined by the scoreboard, into one that defines and promotes sports as a human growth experience. Learn more at insideoutinitiative.org.