This I Believe

Clifford - New Kensington, Pennsylvania
Entered on April 21, 2006
Age Group: 18 - 30
Themes: sports

This I Believe – Sports Helped Mold My Life

Playing a sport is more than just an activity to help fill your day. It is more than entertaining yourself or others. In its truest form, I believe playing sports can teach invaluable life lessons.

I have played sports my entire life. Whether in a structured league, on a school team, or playing for leisure, sports have always been an important aspect of my life. Sports were a common ground between my dad and me as I grew up. When I was a child, my dad spent a lot of time teaching me how to play different sports and would always make sure I arrived at practice or a game on time. Staying involved in sports when I was younger was a blessing in disguise. It made the transition from my childhood to my teenage years much easier for both my dad and me, as I was raised without a mother for most of my life.

At one point in grade school my dad told me that if I can succeed in sports, I can succeed at anything in life. I remember the conversation almost verbatim. My initial response was, “You mean go pro?” After hearing his response I knew that’s not what he meant. He said, “It’s not necessarily about how good you become. It’s about never giving up – working hard to get where you want to be.” Those words didn’t mean all that much to me when I was in the fourth grade, but as the years went on, I really understood what my dad meant.

It wasn’t until high school that I realized staying active in different sports would benefit me in real life. To begin with, playing sports taught me the values of commitment, hard work, and team play. I wasn’t expected to take on the extra curricular activities of baseball, basketball, and golf – I chose to commit myself to these activities. I was committed to my teammates, my coaches, and myself. Then once I made the commitment, participation was mandatory and sacrifices needed to be made.

Teamwork or team play, in my opinion, is one core value that can benefit anyone regardless of that individual’s path through life. Employers want someone who can work well with co-workers. A friend wants another friend who will care for him or her. Coaches want players who can play unselfishly on a team. My involvement in sports my entire life and especially in my high school years taught me the value of being on a team. I then knew what it was like to completely depend on others and in return be depended on.

I have reached different levels of success in each of the sports I chose to pursue. Therefore, I have a strong understanding of how hard I need to work to achieve different results. Having an understanding of the relationship between hard work and getting results, to me, is invaluable. From throwing a baseball with my dad in the backyard to playing in a high school playoff game, participation in sports has shaped my character.