Learning from sports

Veronica, Archie and Veronica

“I don’t sweat, I glow”
I simply adore her!!

I was never the athletic type.  I grew up being more of a stereotypical girly-girl… meaning, I walk slow, I move slow, I don’t like perspiring  (I don’t sweat, I glow), I always made sure my hair is not in disarray  — which would be difficult to avoid when you’re running or  doing any kind of physical activity.

Back in high school, you will see me spending more time in the library than in the gym.  I preferred doing mental calisthenics.  I studied about sports, but I didn’t DO sports.  I simply didn’t have the drive.

If I had a girl, she would probably be like me.  Most likely shopping and walking in the mall would be our best form of exercise together.  THAT I can do so well, even with eyes closed!   However I was blessed with a boy.  Good thing his father is super sportsminded so my son has someone to emulate.

And so, early on we introduced my son to various sports… Sports for him to love, to spend time on and to learn important life lessons from.

***

Let’s play ball!

Playing a sport teaches one about the value of discipline, hardwork, perseverance.  If it’s an individual sport (like golf or tennis), you learn to trust yourself more — because you have no one but yourself to depend on.  If it’s team sport, you learn about teamwork.  You learn to rely on other people — your teammates.  You play the role or the position given to you and you learn it well… and you trust that your teammates will do what is expected of them.

Sports should teach one about respect — for your coaches, your teammates and your opponents, as well.  Sports teach one about winning and losing.  Sports shape one’s character.  What one learns in the basketball court or on the baseball diamond can be applied outside — in the real world.

In fact, it’s a two way thing… you learn values from sports experiences which you can apply in real life situations — and you also bring into your games the kind of person that you truly are… whatever values you have grown up with.

***

Ideally, sports should shape a child to become a better person.

I encouraged my son to do baseball not only so that he can meet new people, gain new friends, but also because I wanted him to learn about discipline, hardwork, teamwork, respect, among other things.  He may not be the best baseball player, but we constantly remind him to just give his best ALL THE TIME.  He may make mistakes, fumble, strike out and may not hit a home run.  What we expect from him is to always attempt, to run as hard, to respect everybody on the diamond — umpires included, and if he’s going to strike out, to strike out swinging.

We don’t expect our son to be the Superstar baseball player but we expect him to give his 100% all the time.  Greatness would follow.

***

champion, #1, winner

What does it take?

It is sad, though, that not everybody shares the same sentiments.  There are people who are after nothing else but the win.  Of course we all want to win.  Yet there are those whose battle cry is — Win at all cost!  Never mind that you don’t show respect for the opponent — or even your teammates.  Never mind that you quarrel with the officials along the way.  Never mind that you manipulate people or events, just so your child can play in all the games you want him to play in.

There are parents who think that their child is the Superstar and everybody else is just there as an entourage.  Of course they choose their child’s teammates because their child should play only with strong players, lest they don’t form a winning team.  And unfortunately, there are coaches who let these parents meddle.

Sadly, there are people who think that winning is dependent on what the scoreboard says.  Somewhere along the way, the very essence of sportsmanship is forgotten.

***

Calvin and Hobbes, tantrums, temper tantrums

let’s throw a tantrum!

As a parent of a sportsminded young man, I have seen all kinds of people in and out of the playing field.  I have seen boys having tantrums in the middle of a game.  I have seen parents throwing tantrums while on the bleachers.  I have seen coaches shouting expletives at the officials after a questionable call.

Sometimes I ask myself, am I doing the right thing exposing my son to these kinds of people?  Is this what he is learning when he plays baseball?  Isn’t he supposed to be learning about respect??

Honestly there are times when I want to either tell some people to just shut up OR to pull my son out of the game and tell everybody that they can all go to — wherever.

It really can get to you.  Most often than not, game situations inside and reality situations outside the field become a test of MY character.  Do I stay and keep quiet, or do I walk away and leave my son to play his game regardless of whatever’s happening around him?

***

cheerleader

I am more than just a cheerleader.

If I try to intervene and tell some parents off  — or in extreme cases, coaches —  then I guess I am no different from them, right?  I think the only thing that is within my control is my son…how he perceives things, how he will take things, and how he will react given certain situations.  Perhaps at this point he still needs my guidance as a parent.

When it comes to baseball skills-building, I know he won’t learn anything from me.  But if we’re talking about values and character building, I do believe that the parents should still stay involved.

Children are very impressionable.  Teenagers are prone to succumbing to peer pressure.  Parents should all the more be vigilant.  Moreso, parents should be the mature ones and act the part.

I choose to stay present during my son’s sports activities so that if I see that there are outside factors influencing him to shift to the wrong path, I can be there to direct him back.  Time will come when he’s old enough to decide for himself and he won’t need nor want me anymore to tell him what to do.  But until that time comes, I intend to try and do the best I can to lead him towards the right path.

I try to be the mature person that I am supposed — and expected — to be.  I don’t quarrel with other parents, I don’t berate the coaches or the umpires.  I try to teach my son that rules are meant to be followed and that people of authority should be respected.  I also remind him that the players — both teammates and opposing team, alike — should be treated with the same respect and dignity that he expects himself to be given.

This is what playing sports is all about.  It’s not just about winning games.  Because on the field, one is only as good as his last game.  But in the real world, one is and will be remembered for the kind of person that he truly is.

Train a child in the way he should go.  Even when he is older he will not depart from it. —  Proverbs 22:6

*****

photos via google images and clipart.

bible verse from the Holy Bible, New International Version

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