In the fight again childhood obesity, the physical benefits of sports are obvious. Healthy youth are active youth. Team/organized sports also build social skills – collaboration, loyalty, character. Participation on sports teams has also allowed countless youth to receive a free college education. Despite the numerous benefits of tennis, football, basketball, lacrosse, cheerleading, track, and a dozen other sports, building a well-rounded youth requires more than athletics. The life of a well-rounded youth requires balance.
Let’s face the fact. Sports are important in our culture. We prove how important sports are in our lives by paying popular athletes more money than most doctors, lawyers, police officer, fire fighters, teachers, and morticians. Television, movies, and magazines glorify the glamorous lives of athletes – fast cars, big houses, numerous mates, and flashy clothes. Our teens are bombarded with these images and it can cloud their judgment and view of reality.
- When a young person’s identity and self-worth is defined by a sport a life is out of balance.
- When the pressure to be a good athlete leads to performance enhancing drugs a life is out of balance.
- When an injured teen is compelled to participate in a sporting event a life is out of balance.
- When a star athlete believes that their athletic prowess qualifies them for a grade they didn’t earn a life is out of balance.
The reality is that very few teens overall make it into any area of professional sports. Even fewer become the face of their particular industry. Everybody can’t be Kobe. Is it for these reasons (and a few others) that we must offer more to our youth – we must offer them a life of balance. The debate team, choir, dance troop, student government association, scouting, and language clubs also offer many of the same benefits found in stadiums and on fields. And remember, no extracurricular activity is more important than a quality education.