The Compassion Project, initiated around town this spring, will begin paying dividends on Ridgefield’s athletic fields and in its stands this fall.

And the timing couldn’t be better with football and soccer teams set to begin their practices in the coming weeks.

Discipline at sporting events is about more than just appropriate etiquette in the stands or keeping ones emotions in check during a state of heightened adrenaline on the field. It’s the reason why athletes lace up to play sports in the first place and train as hard as they do every offseason: to overcome whatever resistance is thrown there way.

Oh, how quick we all are to forget sports’ most valuable lessons when a referee’s call doesn’t go our team’s way.

It’s a universal reaction but it doesn’t have to be this way. What’s important isn’t the result, it’s the experience. The escalated endurance, the forged camaraderie, and the shared memories.

That’s why Siera Fergosi’s sports code of conduct is long overdue in town sports. Emotional breakdowns — whether on the field or in the stands — take away from the game and all its valuable lessons.

Not only do they distract from the rich principles sports provide young athletes, they create situations that are always avoidable.

Fergosi, an intern with First Selectman Rudy Marconi this summer, focused on a decline in civility at high school events and decided this was the right time for Ridgefield to change. Hopefully, one day, Ridgefield can become a standard-bearer for sporting event discipline.

For now, it’s all about taking the baby steps.

You can’t learn how to play a sport in one day, and you certainly can’t unlearn decades of uncivil behavior attending or playing in just one game.

So players and parents, take it slow this summer. Play by play, quarter by quarter. And before you take the field, it might be a good idea to review the new rules that look to govern offending players, out-of-control coaches, or excessively rabid fans.

They’re going to make the playing environment at all of our fields that much stronger this fall.