This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
Since I was a little kid, I have been playing sports. In fact most of my life has revolved around sports. This simple fact probably explains why I am a sports writer and don’t give many opinions other than those that are about sports. I have been thinking lately about why sports are important. I have come up with two reasons as to why sports are meaningful; the first is the most obvious, sports are a form of entertainment whether we are playing or watching. The second reason is because they teach us life lessons.
Since I have been playing sports, I have played them with both those my own age and with those older then me. It never ceases to amaze me that no matter what sport I am playing, I can always learn a lesson from the person I am with, or they will re-iterate a lesson that I learned already.
The first lesson that sports taught me is that of respect. Not only did I learn to respect my opponent, but also myself and the audience that was watching. A lot of my experiences learning about respect have come from the game of golf.
Golfers are perhaps the most respectful athletes in the world. I learned respect because at the end of every round of golf, you take your hat off and shake your opponent’s hand. It doesn’t matter if you are playing in the Master’s Tournament or playing with a couple friends on the weekend.
Not only in golf did I learn respect on the golf course but in other sports as well. I am very competitive and would often times talk a lot of trash with opponents. This is not necessarily a bad thing but it kept me from focusing on playing the game. When I finally started to respect my opponent and not focus on making them feel worse, I found that I was able to play better.
The second aspect that I have learned from sports is self-control. When I was younger, I had a bad temper and easily became angry. During a little league basketball game, I fouled out on something that I thought was a bad call. I slowly slunk off of the court, grumbling under my breath and sat down at the end of the bench not wanting to look at anybody. What my coach did next is what taught me self-control.
Instead of getting after me for fouling out and contesting the call, he sat at the opposite end of the bench and slowly shook his head. As I looked at him, I hoped he would not come over and chew me out, I realized I had embarrassed him. Not only had I embarrassed him, but also embarrassed myself because I couldn’t control myself. From that moment on when I am playing a sport, I do my best to keep my cool so that I don’t embarrass myself.
The third and final aspect that I learned from sports is honesty. This is another lesson I learned from golf.
In golf there are no referees, the player calls the penalty on themselves and most times, golfers are good about that. Although I have never had to penalize myself in a tournament I learn from others.
Bobby Jones, a famous golfer, once called a penalty on himself even though nobody else noticed. Jones ended up losing the tournament the next day by one stroke. When a professional athlete has the guts to call a penalty or not contest a call, they show what being a first-class athlete is all about. Luckily for us we can all be first-class people just by being honest.
All of these lessons I have learned are major lessons that we need to know to succeed in life. I am not saying that these are the only lessons that I have learned from playing and watching sports, but rather that I feel these are the most important lessons I have learned. We are taught by the examples around us, and by the experiences we have. Therefore we learn the lessons that those examples and experiences teach us. When we finally put these lessons that we have learned into practice, we become the first-class athletes, sports enthusiasts and people that we are capable of becoming.