My kids have tried, at various times, soccer, basketball, baseball, softball, tae kwon do, running, and gymnastics. There are many reasons I think learning about sports is important in life.
Sports provide the opportunity to learn new skills, to follow directions, to play by the rules, to work with teammates, and to develop confidence.
As they grow older, the skills continue to develop into life skills. The child has to learn to balance competitiveness with sportsmanship, the glory for self with the good of the team, the pain of losing with the willingness to try harder.
I think that’s why so many people are drawn to sports teams and contests, whether they’ve ever thrown a ball or not. Sports are a miniature representation of life itself, a concentrated, glorified version of the struggles ordinary people experience everyday.
In soccer and basketball, you work toward a goal. There are specific rules you have to play by, or you may get stalled along the way. If you can’t work with other people, you won’t get anywhere. It always helps to have a coach, someone who has been there and can give you advice. When you make a goal, you celebrate.
Running, martial arts, and gymnastics are more about self-discipline. You still need someone with experience to teach you to participate correctly. You cannot improve without regular practice and training. Sometimes your success is measured by your own personal goals rather than comparing to other people.
Baseball is unique in the way that each team member depends on the others to reach their goals. In the same way, we are all interconnected, and we do our best when others cheer us on.
It’s not surprising that people get passionate about their teams. With each exciting play, with each score, with each come-from-behind win, we revel in the victory that is common to the human spirit. Our hearts beat with the same intensity that the players themselves feel, because we know the same feelings, and live vicariously through their struggle.
Go Big Blue!