Take a swing at sports

Participation in athletics has positive effects

Take a swing at sports

Money and attention from fans may lure people to play sports, but once on a team, competitors may be surprised to find there is so much more to gain from participating in a sport. Organized activity can lead to higher academic performance, improved social skills, increased self esteem and greater preparedness. Sports can also bring joy to its audience and everyone involved. I believe involvement in sports is essential to developing one’s character.

Sometimes when I’m sitting watching a football or basketball game, I think, “What is all the fuss about?” That’s when I turn my head and see my dad or my brother so involved in the game that they will begin to get emotional– whether it is anger or excitement, I see it. This game gave them something to wait on all week or even all year. It means something to them. It brings the two of them closer together even if it is just a couple hours a week. The athletes are not only playing for themselves, but for everyone in the audience.

More practically, the integration of youth in organized sports can lead to a safer tomorrow. According to a study by University of Michigan, reduced suspensions are reported at schools with elevated enrollment in sports. Children who are given something to care about are less likely to turn to misbehaving to seek attention.

Additionally, practices and competition can challenge the brain to improve problem solving skills as well as muscle memory. Kids in sports learn new things as they get adjusted to the new environment, many of which are applicable to a school setting. Studies from Florida National University state that the amount of exercise one gets directly correlates with their mental performance.

The environment a student can be a part of in a sport can be both supportive and helpful in making and maintaining friendships as well. In my experience, some of the relationships I am most thankful for are those I have gained in a school sport. I was pushed to meet new people and go outside of my comfort zone, which is something I struggled with. Sports can broaden horizons, which is important to the upbringing of everyone.

Then, of course, sports provide the benefit of helping keep a child physically fit. In our developing world, childhood obesity is becoming an increasingly pressing issue. According to the CDC, one in five schoolchildren in the United States suffers from obesity. This can’t be solved overnight, but one thing that may lead to improvement on the topic is sports for today’s youth. They can learn exercise habits that can help them now and in the future.

Furthermore, organized sports can not only teach goal-setting skills, but also show them in action. When children want to accomplish something in their sport, practicing and working hard can help them see first-hand their goal being realized. This can build a solid foundation for a lifetime of achievements that require a determined and thoughtful mind. Success can start on an athletic stage.

In the end, it doesn’t matter why you participate in athletics. Before long, the positive impact within your life will begin to show whether it be socially, physically or mentally. Sports can do things in our lives that we can’t even imagine, both now and far in the future.