Do you agree or disagree with the following statement: Playing sports teaches people lessons about life.
Some see sports as something with little application to everyday life. Sports, they say, are at best good for keeping you fit. But I disagree. Sports can teach us many lessons that can applied to life in general.
The most obvious lesson a sport can teach us is the value of teamwork—at least, team sports can teach us this. When I was younger I played lacrosse and soccer, and I learned that a team either works together or it fails together. When people were focused on supporting each other and complimenting each other’s skills, we played exceptionally. But when egos started to rule and people became focused on how many points they scored, the team’s performance took a nosedive. Even star players cannot carry a team if no one is willing to assist them. In team sports, as in many situations in life, great things are usually only be achieved when a group of people works harmoniously towards the same goal.
Sports can also teach us about how to deal with failure. I remember the first loss I experienced as a soccer player. Our team had won the first three games of the season, and about 10 minutes from the end of our fourth match, our team was up two points and victory seemed inevitable. Then the unthinkable happened—over the next five minutes, the opponent recovered and scored three goals, then successfully defended their lead until the end of the match. The loss devastated our team, and as we approached next match our spirits were low. But our coach reminded us that failure is an integral part of growth, and that we needed to analyze what we did wrong so that we could emerge even stronger than before. After reviewing the tapes and revising our strategy, we came back to play a successful season. And the next time we played the team that defeated us, we beat them 3-0. Even the best of teams will lose a game now and then. Sports taught me that the important thing is to pick yourself up afterwards and keep going.
Finally, sports can teach us things the concept of “sportsmanship.” Life is filled with moments of competition. Some deal with this by seeing competitors as enemies. Others will use competition as a justification for doing anything it takes to win. But playing sports has taught me a better way. You can know that someone is your competitor, but still respect and admire them. And you can put your all into winning a competition without resorting to questionable means. I remember one lacrosse game against a tough opponent. At one point it looked like we had fouled the opponent, but despite the other team lagging behind, they decided not to call the foul. We were so moved that after the game, we took them out to pizza and became friends with the team.
Sports can actually teach us much about life. Through sports, we learn the value of teamwork, the right way to deal with failure, and how to conduct ourselves honorably in relation to competitors. These are all invaluable lessons.