Sport is an activity that comes naturally to some more than others, but the general spirit in which it’s intended really applies to everyone. It does not matter on the shape of the ball, the size of the field or number of players required to make a game – showing up for casual or formal competition carries a range of benefits.
There are two genuine aspects that make sport a special pastime. The first of which is social, allowing people to connect and relate on a level they might not have been able to in other settings.
From soccer to cricket, rugby and netball, communities can be formed through an unspoken language. An interpreter is rarely needed once a group of people cross the white line under one banner for a single cause.
The other outstanding feature centres around the individual – seeing men and women increase their health, fitness and mental well being while partaking in a game they love.
There are many reasons to play sport, yet these five stand out above the rest.
Learning new skills in the sporting arena goes beyond hand-to-eye coordination for that tough shot, or trapping a ball with an incoming defender bearing down on you.
Skills can be found in aspects like personal leadership, ushering teammates to get into position or listen to tactical instruction. It could be executing under pressure to kick the ball between the posts with a gathered crowd in attendance.
It might even be as a coach, discovering how best to balance direct confrontation with harmonious team building exercises. Even the most experienced professionals in the sporting arena will admit they do not know everything about their discipline, and developing skills is always part of the deal.
Businesses around the globe spend thousands of dollars annually attempting to create what comes naturally to sports teams. While specialist consultants give PowerPoint presentations on “respect” and “trust activities”, football outfits have to rely on their teammates each and every week.
Being part of a collective body whose goal will only be achieved if everyone is pulling in the same direction makes sport unique. Individual games are readily available for those wanting a personal challenge, but they won’t experience the benefits of growing with others.
Lifelong friendships are regularly born out in team environments, regardless of winning or losing. That is a commodity that cannot bought. As well as this, sport usually helps people develop their sportsmanship and this is a difficult skill to learn.
Sense of Self
Legendary American sports journalist Heywood Broun once wrote that sport does not build character – it reveals it.
On face value, that might seem a daunting prospect for the introverts who bottle up their emotions afraid to express themselves in an open setting, but being positioned in a scenario that requires a degree of bravery and leadership can bring out the best in people.
Sport is regarded as one of the greatest environments to build confidence and self-esteem, nurturing hidden talents and characteristics that might have remained in the shadows.
Health and Fitness
Engaging in regular physical activity is a must for anyone who desires a healthy lifestyle and long lifespan. This is where sport can satisfy plenty of criteria, moving the joints and getting the body moving to burn calories.
Whereas attending the gym is a conscious effort to work on health and fitness, sport will provide those benefits without the participant even cognisant of the inherent advantages.
Plenty of diseases are fought when playing sport, from obesity to diabetes, cancer, osteoporosis, muscle strength and especially mental health.
At the end of the day, playing sport is simply fun. Yes developing skills and building confidence are all knock-on effects of the activity but when you boil down what sport is, it should be about the joy that comes with playing alongside friends and like-minded individuals.
Boys and girls from the youngest age dream of emulating their sporting heroes on the grandest of stages, whether that be the Olympic Games or World Cup Final. Those who have conquered the game argue this is the best course of action, with multiple NBA champion Michael Jordan once remarking, “the first of which is social.”
Unless there is another hobby that satisfies these criteria or there is a physical impairment that prevents you from sport, then the benefits are obvious. It works to drive people onto greater personal goals while allowing groups to build team comradery and forge towards a collective objective.