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When I was a young boy, I loved to play sports. I was constantly outside looking for a friend to play ball – baseball, basketball, football; it didn’t matter what ball I was playing, as long as I was playing. Sports had such a positive impact on my life; they made me who I am today. If I had not had sports in my life growing up, then I may have ended up in a much worse place than I am today. My passion for sports comes from my grandfather, who died when I was five years old. The only memories I have of my grandfather are of us playing ball together; he has a passion for sports and that passion lived on through me. I believe that sports programs benefit children immensely. They provide self discipline, safe activity, and friendly competition that help to improve self esteem and worth and serve as a basis for healthy living, all qualities that I think my grandfather would have appreciated in me.
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Sports programs, whether structured for competitiveness or for learning, provide self discipline. I know very well that it takes time to learn a skill, and sports taught me the patience it requires to learn how to do something. From my own experiences in athletics, I believe that sports also teach exercise and diet importance, which is a form of self discipline. Self discipline is important later in life in order to achieve goals, do well in school, avoid peer pressure, and to maintain a healthy mind and body. Sports require physical strength and endurance and a thoughtful mind. I remember disliking running drills, but knew after a game where I was able to run back and forth up and down the court that exercises like that were necessary to prepare for the big game. This self discipline was hard to take at first, but I grew to accept it and embrace it. It kept me out of trouble and made making hard decisions a bit easier. I wasn’t afraid of hard work.
I’m a big proponent of sports programs because they also offer safe activity for children and teens. While sports have their risks such as minor injuries, fractures, or even concussions, I still believe they are safer than running the streets. Children and teens who participate in sports are less likely to get into trouble with the law, drink underage, smoke, do drugs, or run away from home because they have somewhere to be and a team who is counting on them. I never got into any trouble as a child or teen because it was very important to me that I was eligible to play sports. I also remembered my grandfather and wanted him to be proud of me, even in death. In addition to family, sports teams are like a support network for young people. Not only do they offer something to do, they offer life lessons and support. Families of children in sports are often very involved and active with the children, as are most coaches. Some of my closest friend were made from my sports teams.
In addition to self discipline and safe activity, sports offer friendly competition for children. Most of my adult life has been competitive; I had to compete to get into college and will have to compete in the job market. My days in sports taught me friendly competitiveness, sportsmanship, and fairness, all traits that work well in the job field. When these traits are ingrained as a young child, they are easier to develop as an adult. Sports also give a time of camaraderie, which I feel that I shared with my grandfather as we tossed ball back and forth. Friendly competition can continue into adulthood to enjoy coed sports or recreational sports or just to have a workout buddy to stay motivated and in shape. I still like to play and have fun playing friendly games of Saturday ball with my buddies.
While it is true that children who don’t participate in sports are not hindered in life because of it, sports can really make a difference in the lives of children. It was a very encouraging and wonderful way for me to spend my childhood and honor my grandfather, and I believe very strongly in having sporting programs available for all children of all ages and income levels. Participating in sports helps to increase self discipline, safe activity and friendly competition. All of these attributes are important in adult life as well as childhood. I believe that sporting programs are essential to many children’s well being.
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