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Sports and Character

Updated: Sep 26, 2018

Sports is an important part of the culture in the United States, especially for males who rely heavily on this topic when communicating with others. So, a lot of parents see sport participation as the best way to get their child to socialize with like-minded peers. Additionally, participation in extracurricular activities can be an easy form of childcare to help the parents bridge the gap between the end of the school day and the time when they get off work. A common perception is that keeping children busy will help them stay out of trouble, so why not put them in sports to gain the other benefits, as well. We all talked about the list of the goals and purpose of sport: learning the value of hard work and discipline, having fun, and living a healthy lifestyle. Unfortunately, some parents put their kids in sports and become overly involved, trying to live vicariously through them. So, there is a wide range of reasons why parents put kids into sports leading to a wide variety of outcomes.

Depending on the circumstances of their participation, children can have a very positive or negative experience (or somewhere in the middle). Youth sports can be used to build character, but most coaches are not capable of producing this result. Instead, the result can be more revealing of each child's disposition. Competition has this unpredictable habit of bringing out the best or worst of us. Winning or losing can magnify our insecurities and difficulties during a game can set off a loose cannon. One way to describe this is relating it to money. Having more money will not make you a better person. More money simply gives you the opportunity to be more of the person that you already are. Someone who is compassionate and generous will only be more giving if they had vast financial resources. Whereas someone who is greedy and selfish will become more so as their financial situation improves. Sometimes the character of a person is revealed when they are faced with adversity, but others reveal their true nature when they have found great success. Playing sports is an almost guaranteed way to experience both circumstances.

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