Bulldogs News · Goals vs. Purpose

Hello All!  This is the first installment of the WHS athletic department’s discussion about Education-Based Athletics. While there are many issues, phrases, and words that make up the content of that title, we’d like to start with the following: Goals vs Purpose: How can they be so different?

Sometimes these two words will run together – even become almost indistinguishable between one another.  It is important to understand the difference between goals and purpose when discussing Education-Based Athletics. We all want our high school athletes to experience a winning season or a state championship or a league title. We believe that all of those goals are important, but we also know that achieving those goals doesn’t automatically mean that we’ve developed a student-athlete’s life in a positive, constructive way.


What are the goals of Education-Based Athletics? We hear goals as department goals or team goals or individual athlete’s goals. We know that goals are quantified, tangible, and/or measured with stats and data analysis. A realistic goal of an individual team may be to win the league championship. An athlete may have a goal of earning a college scholarship or to lead the basketball team in rebounding. Specific and particular goals like those may help an athlete move forward during the journey of a long season; there is a clear objective that it able to be accomplished. Jody Redman of the InsideOut Initiative said, “Is it important to win?  Yes. Do we play so a high school student can develop physical skills, score 1,000 points, and get a college scholarship? Yes. Do we play so a team can win a conference title? Yes. Do we play so high school students can have the experience of getting to and winning a state championship? Yes. But those are our goals and should not be confused with what our purpose is.”


Purpose is the why an athlete does what he or she does.  WHS athletic department’s purpose – in a culture of education-based athletics – is to prepare students to excel in situations that arise throughout life.  We are continuously working to facilitate student athlete growth which, in turn, will help develop our student athletes into young men and women who are empathetic, passionate and are able to problem solving in a way that will positively impact our community.  Redman also says that “ … in education based athletics the purpose is the human growth and development of every student.” With that, Jon Gordon, a New York Time Best-Selling Author says this of your purpose: “You don’t get burned out because of what you’re doing; you get burned out because you forget why you are doing it.”

WHS Athletic Department Goal:

The Woodridge Athletic Department will make sure that each student-athlete, on every team, knows that the Woodridge Local Schools Athletic Department is constantly striving to make sure our student-athletes’ are prepared to successfully navigate the complex situations that they’ll inevitably face throughout life. Our goal is making sure our athletes have a purpose.

WHS Athletic Department’s next installment: Success: Is it always about winning?