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Why Sports Matters

There’s no question about it! Sports matters! I recommend all kids participate in sports while growing up. Kids who take part in sports when they’re young are not only physically healthier but, they’re also mentally and psychologically healthier, as well. Consider this: most people quit. It’s as simple as that…most people quit. But, it’s no secret that successful people never quit. It frequently comes down to being just that simple…that success or failure hinges on simply never giving up. One of the first things that all young people learn in sports is to never give up on a game.

They learn early it early and it’s reinforced often to never quit. In every sport there are numerous examples of teams trailing in the late stages of a contest only to respond with a rally to win in the final seconds. They grow up, not just thinking, but knowing that it’s never to late to win if they just don’t quit. Calvin Coolidge said: “Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not; nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not; unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not; the world is full of educated derelicts. Persistence and determination alone are omnipotent. The slogan “Press On” has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.” As I said, most people quit. So, if persistence was the only positive character trait to be gained from long-term participation in sports, that alone would make sports important.

But, there’s more. In sports we learn to make the first move, not just stand around on the fringe, afraid to make a move and jump in. When you hesitate in life, it’s like the universe takes the attitude, “It doesn’t appear that you’re very serious about this. Once you develop some commitment and make a decision, maybe then will you get some help.” It appears that whether we’re talking about relationships or jobs, one of the major problems in life is a lack of commitment. In making the first move, we’re making a commitment…sports teaches making a commitment. And, in other areas of life, when one person makes a commitment, sometimes it gives another the courage to commit, as well. Yes, sports matters. It really doesn’t matter whether one has great talent or any talent for that matter, it only matters that one plays. And, in fact, once one starts to play, veins of talent buried deep inside can be revealed. Another lesson learned…not all talent lies on the surface, sometimes we have to dig deep to find it.

W. N. Murray had this to say about commitment. “Until one is committed there is hesitancy, the chance to draw back, always ineffectiveness. Concerning all acts of initiative (and creation) there is one elementary truth, the ignorance of which kills countless ideas and splendid plans: that the moment one definitely commits oneself, then providence moves too. All sorts of things occur to help one that would otherwise never have occurred. A whole stream of events issues from the decision, raising in one’s favor all manner of unforeseen incidents and meeting and material assistance, which no man could have dreamt would have come his way.

Certainly sports teaches how to take risks. It certainly takes risks to succeed in sports and in life. Sports teaches how to deal with failure. It teaches that it often takes many failures to eventually succeed. Sports also teaches that when we take that risk and go out on a limb, sometimes it breaks…but, more often than not we land on our feet. So, I say, let’s play more sports, go out on more limbs and pick more fruit.

Mack Newton

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