I was invited to hear a motivational speaker yesterday by a dear friend. Thanks RK for including me in such a thought provoking experience. The message was about the power to change lives…and to even save lives. Obviously, there are many things within our scope that can initiate big change. In this case, that influence comes through sports, and this message was specifically focusing on girls/young women.
Having raised boys, we knew and encouraged the dynamism of athletics. We understood, even in our naïve baby stages of parenting, that the true value of sports went way beyond the actual sport itself. Into that beyond falls character sculpting, confidence building, work-ethic growth, team bonding, and discovering one’s core at the precipice of challenge. The benefits for sports endlessly continue as they instill commitment, respect for others, discipline, responsibility, and learning the graciousness of both winning and losing. These are essential life skills for everyone. No one had to sell me on the value of sports, but I had forgotten their impact on me…. as a young girl… and the potential for other young girls. I learned so many far-reaching lessons during my years of swimming competitively. Today’s speaker gave me a paramount reminder of what any sport is capable of accomplishing in molding the lives of our youth. Research bears out that that girls who play sports:
- Do better in school and are more likely to graduate than those who don’t.
- Are less likely to smoke, use drugs and more likely to abstain from sex throughout high school.
- Have stronger immune systems and reduced chance of breast cancer, osteoporosis and fewer chronic illnesses later in life.
- Have a higher body esteem and less unhealthy eating behaviors with a reduced risk of obesity.
- Lower rates of depression and suicide.
There is empowerment and strength in that list. Sports can change the trajectory of young lives. One doesn’t have to possess the innate talent or become a professional athlete in order to reap the benefits. I LOVE this quote which is true in sports but has real application in the world beyond.
Hard work beats talent when talent doesn’t work hard~ Tim Notke.
Sports are one of many tools in our crumbling society for providing the building blocks for better people which begin the domino effect into better families, better communities, and ultimately a better world. In the book Make It Zero written by an amazing young lady that I call friend, Jennifer Bradley Franklin talks about what each one of us can do to prevent the negative vortex that can eventually lead to human trafficking if left unchecked. Sports are a divergent path. A path that leads up. A path that can fill the gaps and wounds of less than perfect parenting. A path that becomes a stepping stone to something better.
I am pondering. I am inspired. I want go beyond…