The athletic programs administered by the Catholic Diocese of Memphis are based on the premise that young adolescents between the ages of 10 and 15, (grades 4 – 8) have special spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and physical needs, which are best met in an environment, which is distinct from not only elementary school but also high school athletic programs. The Parochial Athletic Association (PAA) offers to its participants a sense of belonging and creates a climate resulting in young people who work toward developing strengths and improving weaknesses. This atmosphere allows young adolescents to experience positive growth and development now and in the future. Athletic programs, which are based on the teachings of Christ and rooted in the teaching of His Church, provide avenues for learning which foster positive attitudes about self and others. The PAA also offers athletic programs for the younger children, ages 5 – 9, (grades 1-4); this league is known as the Charlie Brown/Lucy League (CBLL).
Within the five principal areas of maturation typifying the young adolescent years: spiritual, intellectual, emotional, social and physical, administrators and coaches of PAA programs work harmoniously with church/school leaders and teachers and utilize a variety of instructional techniques. The instructional aspects of PAA programs are participant-centered and specifically geared to meet individual player needs. No interested adolescent is “cut” from a team, i.e. denied participation on a church/school-sponsored team in a PAA league. Furthermore, all PAA programs and related activities receive equal planning and support. The respect for the human dignity of each participant is at the forefront of all decision-making.
The PAA programs are the instruments by which young adolescents develop the fundamental skills and basic strategies of the games or activities in which they participate. During the ages of 10 and 15, adolescents want to explore all extra-curricular possibilities in order to determine which ones they are most interested in and most proficient in. Winning should not be the primary goal of PAA athletics. Winning is less important than preparing the athlete to win. Young adolescent athletes should be rewarded for personal bests and positive efforts, regardless of game outcomes. If the emphasis on winning or being the best is introduced too early or too strongly, the emotional balance of this age group is upset. Administrators and coaches in the PAA must have an understanding of adolescent development phases, enjoy working and having fun with youngsters, and respect the uniqueness of each of their charges. Likewise, administrators and coaches in the PAA must be committed to enhancing the growth and development of players, to offering specialized and proper instruction, and to working as a part of the church/school athletic programs teams. They must foster trust, dignity, consistency, fairness, and add a degree of humor to their endeavors.
The CBLL league is structured in such a way that all players who are eligible should receive equal playing time in each game. Scores are kept but the emphasis is not on winning but is on learning the basic fundamentals of the game, sportsmanship and the advantages of being a member of a team. League standings are not kept in this league and there are no team awards presented.