Fitter, Faster, Stronger... And Always A Team Player
Sitting knee deep in half drunk Milos’, the umpire’s whistle blaring in my ears, the rise and fall of the spectator’s cheers resonating within the stadium I watch eagerly as the race begins. This particular hot and balmy day found me at the annual swimming meet, my oldest daughter who was the swimmer in the family was taking part with her fellow schoolmates. The excitement in the air was reflected on the faces of the children, where in mutual fellow camaraderie, they eagerly cheered their friends into victory. Of course the main agenda that day was to win and represent the school positively. But I think at what ever positions we placed, the group of children who participated that day, were all winners for they all shared an experience which enriched their lives and taught them some important life skills…. other than swimming!
It goes without saying that children who participate in team related sports are exposed to numerous positive experiences which are instrumental in chiselling out a more happier and confident individual. As the famous saying goes there is no “I” in team and that is essentially what your child is taught. In a single play of a game, your child is taught to look beyond his or herself, to respect others, to work as a team, bonding towards a common goal. The ever growing convolution of positive energy that permeates a group, instills a sense of happiness that cannot be recreated, but can only be achieved in that situation.
There is a view of thought that one will always be disappointed when relying on a team effort to win a competition because there is always the slowest or inexperienced member in the group who will be a disadvantage. In other words more can be achieved when one is relying on one’s own abilities, the me, myself and I syndrome. But man is not an island and we always move in a pack, however our antisocial personalities demand from us. Being part of a group, a team etc will draw out even the most closeted of individuals, give them flight and unleash their positive energy.
Children, during their formative years should be involved in some sort of group play, here are some reasons why.
1. Getting Along With People You Don’t Like
Team sports teach children the essentials of getting along with others. There will always be someone that irritates them or that they simply do not like. But being part of a group and working towards a common goal, children are encouraged to overlook these, show empathy and understanding and work together as a group, whatever the differences.
2. Respecting The Competition
Being part of a group and in constant training, children learn one extremely important value and that is mutual respect. They learn to respect their coaches and elders for the training given, they respect their fellow teammates and they even learn to respect their opposing teammates for their abilities and strengths, for only they know the time spent in training together.
3. Creating Leaders
Even though your child is part of a team sport, they might not always be the best at it. But the amount of training given teaches them many winning qualities. Their dedication, their commitment creates better future workers. Team sports help children be focused during training, to be disciplined and also teaches them to get through the tough times. They learn to achieve a balance between school and athletics and these are all important qualities to strive for in order to become a wholesome individual.
4. You Win Some And You Lose Some
Sports is the only arena that children will learn to lose, despite their best abilities. This is an important lesson in life. In the bevy of their fellow teammates they learn to empathize with each other, to pull together as a team and to get through their disappointments.
5. Extra Bit Of Confidence
Being part of a group, working with a team, always having the support of others, gives your child that extra bit of confidence. They know they are part of something special, and that really helps to boost their morale.
Therefore you should be convinced by now that enrolling your child in a team sport related activity is worth their while. Yes, sports is always about winning, but as children are growing up, there are many battles to be fought rather than the big win. Teaching them to be wholesome children, with confidence, respect for others, dedication and generally learning to live a balanced life are important “wins” to strive for. Being a team player, you will always be a winner.
By Mayuri Jayasinghe