This archived article was written by: David Osborne Jr.
Why do we bother watching or participating in sports? What can sports teach us? And why are sports so important? These are just a few questions I have asked myself for quite some time as I worked on this article. There are so many things that sports can and will teach us. Those lessons, however, are not just meant for on the field or court, rather they should be applied to our lives because they are applicable in many different areas of life.
Sports have not always been what they are now. “Athletes” in previous generations were not highly recruited to go to a certain college, or drafted to play for a team that needed improvement, and they were never paid millions of dollars to do what they did best.
Sports originally started out as skills needed by our civilizations and species to stay alive. These athletes, who came from generations far gone, had the skills to keep themselves, their families and communities alive. They were able to throw or shoot with accuracy, run long distances and had strength. These abilities kept them alive.
If these early-generation athletes lived at this time they would perhaps be making millions of dollars and living an easy life, instead of fighting everyday to have their skills and abilities keep them alive. We all must remember that our natural athleticism is what kept us alive, and it is one of the main reasons that sports are so relevant in life today.
Walt Disney said, “You may not realize it at the time, but a kick in the teeth may be the best thing in the world for you.” Disney understood that learning life lessons was important, and that is another reason that sports are so important. They teach us some of life’s most important lessons. I can distinctly remember learning many different lessons while playing little league baseball and basketball, as I am sure many of you can as well.
Some of those lessons are ones that will be carried with us throughout our whole lives. From sports we learn lessons like never giving up, learning to work with those around us, taking criticism from those in charge of us and working towards a common goal with our teammates.
The late John Wooden stated, “Some believe that sports build character. I believe that sports reveal character.” We already know who we are and what we can become, but sports help show that even more. Once we have learned these lessons, allow our character to be revealed and begin to apply them not just to sports that we participate in but also into our lives, we become better and more apt to accomplish things.
Another reason that sports are so important is because they teach us to have hopes and dreams. Every Saturday, I hope that the college football team I cheer for will win; the same goes for other sports. It goes a step further when the play-offs come around. I am sure that we have all gone through times where we feel like we are against all odds, just like our sports teams, and then we are able to achieve something. Because you remember what your team was able to accomplish you can imagine yourself doing it. When we start to believe in ourselves, no matter what we are doing, we are able to accomplish more.
The most important thing I think we learn from sports is that they reflect life. When a game begins, it is just like life: completely un-scripted, where anything can happen and any team or person, no matter how bad or good they are, can achieve anything they want to. This is something that we all need to learn. Every time we step on the court, field or anywhere else for that matter, you can do whatever you set your mind to. There will always be good times and bad times but things can always change, just like a baseball player in a batting slump. We can all benefit from following the advice from Hank Aaron, ‘My motto was to always keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly, or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was keep swinging.” We are all that way. We will have trouble; we know that things can be hard; but we have to keep trying, especially because they can change at any moment.
Sports are important to life; they remind us who we were, are and will be, and how we can face life knowing that anything can happen.
This is why sports have been on the tee.