7 ways that sports make a difference

What’s happening to professional athletes? Long gone are the days when stars like the late Yankee Joe DiMaggio protected his reputation like security guards at the U.S. Mint.

The sports world has always had its share of problem players, although the numbers seem to be increasing, particularly in the NFL, which has seen dozens of players arrested during the off-season.

Nevertheless, sports play an important role in our society, and we should focus on the benefits, not the bad apples.

All together now
It sounds cliché, but playing a sport really does teach kids what it means to be a team player, something that will serve them well in their work careers.

Where are you going?
Competitive sports are all about setting team and individual goals — making the team, hitting .300, placing at regionals, winning the league championship, etc. — and working toward those targets.

See you tomorrow
It takes discipline to run, swim laps, or practice putting every day. And the more you practice, the better you become — teaching athletes that hard work pays off.

Good sports
More than ever, amateur sports are teaching kids to win gracefully and lose with dignity. They’ll all face a life full of successes and failures, and the lessons they learn on the sports field will teach them how to deal with each.

Character building
While the news is full of examples of athletes behaving badly, you’ll also see positive stories:

  • Players who visit hospitalized children
  • Athletes volunteering in the community
  • Coaches giving a kid with a disability a chance to play in a real game

Good coaches teach more than sports skills; they teach life lessons.

Howdy, neighbor
Following a local teams builds a sense of community. Whether it’s a Friday night football game or a Tuesday afternoon field hockey match, a sporting event is a great opportunity to meet new people and connect with friends.

Lifelong friends
Joining a team gives kids, particularly shy ones, a chance to make friends. Wearing the same uniform immediately offers something in common, and sharing  a goal (see above) builds bonds.

Your turn. What did you learn by playing a sport?

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