By Latrel Citizen, Summer Camp Sports and Games Coordinator
Sports are usually perceived as physically exerting activities used as a means of entertainment, competition and even rivalry, both good and bad. Sports to me, however, are so much more than that, especially for children. It’s where they first learn not only how to communicate, but how to work as part of a team as well as learning more about themselves as individuals. All-in-all sports are a cultural phenomenon that everyone can essentially be part of.
Communication is one of the first things that children learn when they join a team. This is an integral part of a child’s development because they are now in a new environment where they are pushed into interacting with both children and adults from different backgrounds. In other words, children who join sports teams will be more accepting of others when they are older because they have already been exposed to people of other cultures. But, communication is only one of the few skills learned when part of a sports team.
Many would also focus on the fact that participating in sports is physically beneficial for children which is true however, it is also emotionally and mentally helpful as well. Participating in sports can help children become more aware of who they are and who they want to be. For lack of better terms children learn to be comfortable with who they are (with proper guidance and positive coaching). Along with that children are given the support they need and therefore learn how to persevere through adversity from a young age. They can transfer every skill they learn from participating in sports and utilize them in real life experiences.
Sports in general are not just about entertaining fans and competing, it’s about learning how to work with others to achieve a common goal and accepting people for what they can do. It’s a culture where children can come and learn not only about skills needed for a specific sport, but skills transferable to everyday life.