Comments 1

  1. I coached baseball for a few decades, all the way from 5 year olds to middle school to high school and adult aged. My own “truth” about sports, in a pithy one-liner, was “the object of the game is to win but not the point of playing the sport.”

    For my own kids, I’m convinced playing baseball was a means by which they learned a lot of things. They learned they could do more than they thought they could. They learned how to win graciously. They learned how to lose without pouting or grieving (after a while at least). They learned how to deal with intense pressure (e.g., bottom of the 9th in the state championship American Legion game, one run ahead, runners on 2nd and 3rd and you take the mound with one out). They learned how to be in control even when a lot of adrenaline was rushing through them. They learned how to deal with authority (umpires, coaches), even when those in authority are simply wrong or mistaken. They learned how to be part of a team, including with people they might not particularly care for. They learned to respect their opponents, and yet not be intimidated by them. They learned that repetitive practice can allow you to master pretty much whatever skill you decide to master.

    This is just a partial list. Admittedly, kids (and adults) can do sports without learning these things (or worse, pick up negative habits and lessons) — and having good coaching and good teammates definitely helps a lot — but there is little doubt in my mind that sports (or really any other competitive activities) can significantly help those who engage mature as human beings in so many ways.

    Lombardi did have it wrong.

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