Michael Jordon, one of the finest basketball players of the century, once said, “I’ve missed more than 9,000 shots in my career. I’ve lost almost 300 games. 26 times, I’ve been trusted to take the game winning shot and missed. I’ve failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed.”
That's the thing about people who found success in life, who have become synonymous with the sport they played. We see the brilliance of Sachin Tendulkar, the calmness of Dhoni and that solid grit in Sindhu’s badminton strokes. It takes tremendous hard work, sacrifice and perseverance into making a sportsperson shine.
Children can also learn many life lessons from playing a sport. From being a team player to dealing with failures, they learn to live life more gracefully. In this article, you will find more reasons to get your kids involved in activities and sports.
If you have watched the movie Remember The Titans, you will agree that sports has the power to bring people together and forge a bond stronger than blood between teammates. Inspired by the true story of former athletes Gerry Bertier and Julius Campbell, it is truly inspiring. Herman Boone, an African American coach, brought together a team of players from mixed-racial backgrounds at a time when being black meant that you were treated like a pariah. But football had the power to unite two races that never saw eye to eye.
When children indulge in team sports, they learn to play as a part of a team, not as individuals. They learn that they are not bigger than the sport. In real life, we need to work with people as a team and thereby, need to learn to accept difference of opinions while working towards a common goal.
There is nothing in life that comes easy and sports teaches kids the value of working hard to achieve goals. The flying Sikh Milkha Singh’s famous quote about hard work says it all. “I would not stop till I had filled up a bucket with my sweat. I would push myself so much that in the end I would collapse and I would have to be admitted to hospital, I would pray to God to save me, promise that I would be more careful in future. And then I would do it all over again.”
Success doesn’t come easy in life, says the world’s fastest man Usain Bolt in the documentary made on him, I Am Bolt. “A lot of people just see me run and say… aah! Look so easy and effortless but before it gets to that point, it's hard. It's like hard work. It's day in and day out sacrifice. There is time when you are running and want to to just give up, just wanna to go home. And then are days when you get up and know you have training to do."
Sports teaches kids the value of hard work by pushing them further and further towards excellence.
Losing in a sport teaches you to be humble. Tennis star Rafael Nadal is well known for his court-conduct and more importantly, his conduct on the days he does not win (unlike a very famous John McEnroe who is infamous for his temper tantrums). Rafael Nadal is seen graciously congratulating the winner of the game and walking out with his head held high. Sports teaches kids that life will not always be a series of wins, but also many losses. It prepare us to accept defeat with grace and have the will and determination to keep going.
Being a good sportsperson means displaying values such as courage, patience, humility and respect, both on and off the field. Just like winning and losing, life will have its good and bad times and sportsmanship will teach kids to accept that fact and have the courage to deal with it head on.
Rafael Nadal is known for his aggressive on-field play, but he is a very shy person off-field. He respects his opponent whether he won or lost the game. On the opening of his tennis academy, he said, “The key to my achievements was more than just talent; it was the result of adhering to certain values without which I would not have had the consistency, discipline or the winning spirit to be successful. This can be taught, just as it was taught to me."
True sportsmanship also teaches kids to respect everyone - be it coaches, referees, or the opponent teams. It teaches them to have patience and have control over their emotions as life requires a certain amount of grit to get through hard times when things do go their way.
Cricketing legend Sachin Tendulkar once explained why he never used a runner when batting. He said, “I never played with a runner in my entire life, even in schools, because only I knew where the ball is going and how hard, when I hit the ball something my runner will never known about.”
Sports teaches kids to understand their boundaries and know their strengths and weaknesses. They understand how far they can push and when they need to stop. In life, too, we need to know how much we can take before asking for help or looking for different solutions. Being self-aware in any situation allows one to have the complete understanding of one’s motivation, emotions, values and habits.
Gymnast Dipa Karmakar made history in the 2016 Rio Olympics when she chose to perform the dangerous Produnova vault (also known as the 'vault of death'). Only five people have successfully completed it in the world, including Karmakar. She said after her performance that if you want to achieve something in life, you have to take risks. Had she chosen to perform safer routines, she might not have made her place in history by being only Indian woman to have not only attempted but also successfully completed the dangerous vault.
To achieve greatness in life, one needs to push boundaries.
Champions push harder when they face a challenge; they don't give up. This is true of sportsmen who are taught right from the beginning to stand their ground, no matter how difficult a situation may be. Life isn’t always fair and when things get tough, you need to be determined and resilient. That's how you overcome challenges and come out stronger.
So, toughen up the kids and see them shine bright!
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