Sport participation in North America is on the decline, and childhood obesity is on the rise. This is a problem, based on the fact (as I contradict myself by writing a blog) that technology is on the rise, and so is how much money organized sports cost. With the cost of living getting higher and wages not keeping up, we understand how hard it is for kids to get into sports at a young age, especially if you have multiple kids. That being said, if you have any money left over, and have been thinking about it. Here are 5 ways why sports is so important to a child’s development, some of which you may not think of.
This is straight from our very own Devin Sarges, who as a kid playing sports, has first hand experience with what they can do.
#1) Physical Activity
Yeah it seems redundant. Everyone talks about how kids need to get physical activity everyday to live a healthy life. They’re right, it is truly essential that kids stay physically active and there is no better way to do it then through organized sport. It is way more fun for them as the element of winning and playing is intertwined into a moderated and officiated where physical activity is encouraged. It is creating a space that is away from home, school, or just plain old outside. This is a place where expectations to move and run and play are encouraged for all. It is also more enjoyable for you parents who get to see your kids play and have fun, it’s as entertaining for you as it is for them.
Especially in team sports, the ability to work together with your peers is something that transcends to every day life as they get older. It doesn’t matter what profession they go into, they will have to work and coexist with other people. Sports teaches kids to respect others at a young age and to recognize strengths and weaknesses of others and themselves while working towards a common goal. Many people cast away kids as unintelligent, but they really do notice these things even at a young age. They are able to recognize the differences between themselves and others, because sports gives them a platform where that is a non-issue. There is always differences in sports but as long as you can play, there is a team that you can play on. Whether it be house league, or AAA, the need for teamwork is still there.
From teamwork, comes friends. Personally speaking, I have more friends that have stuck with me that I made through sports than I did anywhere else. Even my friends from school, our relationships were further cemented by a mutual love of a sport. Don’t get me wrong, sports are not for every kid, but every kid should at least try something out. You never know what can happen. These friends that I made also shared in some of my fondest memories growing up. Some people see sports only at face value, but in fact there is a much deeper connection between the friends you make while on a team. The funny thing is, no matter how well you perform on the field, ice, pitch, court, it’s the memories in the locker room, at team parties, at hotels for tournaments… Those are what stick with you the most, and those are what further form our children to make lifelong bonds.
Sports actually gives our children a heightened ability to be accountable for mistakes and actions. You give the puck away in hockey, make a bad throw in baseball, and it costs your team something. In the grand scheme of life, this one act has absolutely no barring on anything. Yet, as our children live in the present, and think in the present, it matters a lot to them. It becomes a safe environment where they can do things wrong, make mistakes, and the repercussions are limited and realistically, do not matter in day to day life. I learned at a young age that there are certain things that are acceptable in sports and in life and they actually mirror each other. It’s wrong to say something mean to a Referee or Umpire, just like it’s wrong to do the same to a Police Officer. In Sports, like school our kids are taught to be accountable for their actions, the only difference being, on the field, you don’t get any cooler by doing things wrong, or being bad.
#5) Accepting Defeat
Oh isn’t this just the Cats Pajamas? You mean sports teaches our children the SINGLE most important thing that they can learn in childhood? Yes it does. No matter how good someone is at a sport, they will lose. It’s impossible to be perfect in games that are imperfect. Your children will fail in sports, a lot… and that my friends, is a good thing! Kids failing at sports, not a big deal, failing in school, bigger deal, failing at life. HUGE DEAL. That being said, in every facet of our life, we are going to lose. Whether it be when we go after a boy or girl in high school and they end up liking someone else, or we apply for a job and don’t get it. We will lose and because I lost in sports many times as a kid, I know that the sun will come up the next day regardless if I lost out on that girl, or job or game. I know that no matter the outcome, I will be able to move on and move forward. Isn’t that what we all want for our kids, to have the ability to learn when they are young so they can keep moving forward and becoming smart and caring adults. When they lose, they know what it feels like. So when they see someone else lose, they are empathetic. Sports may create rivalries and a sense of entitlement to a certain team or athlete, but it also makes our kids empathetic. They are taught the ability to feel sorry for the losing team, or the one kid who made a mistake, because they have been in the same shoes before.
The Sporting world is a metaphor for every day life. Those who work harder, will achieve more. They will still lose, but they will have the ability to move on from defeat. They will learn to be empathetic, to work as a team, they will grow in terms of fitness and they will make everlasting friends.
Kids in sports is a dying trend, but it shouldn’t because as a University student who is extremely passionate about his studies, I can confidently tell you this. Sports taught me more things about life, than school ever did.
Thanks for reading.