Article By Katrina Tan
Squeaky shoes and rubber balls flying about aren’t exactly what most people would call fun. Some would even call it a nightmare; but for many, these are the sounds of comfort. Of long hours spent sweating it out with teammates turned friends, bonding over the relentlessness of a coach or captain. Yes, I’m talking about team sports. Where people of all different personalities are hodge-podged together to form a (usually) functional team working towards the same goal. There’s more to team sports than just a bunch of sweaty people running through a field and tossing around a ball, though.
At its core, team sports are practices that foster important life skills. (And not just the typical leadership and teamwork jazz).
While it may be true that engaging in team sports isn’t for everyone, they certainly teach skills that everyone could use. Leadership and teamwork are at the top of the list for sure, but that isn’t even half of the whole thing. Developing social skills, instilling the idea of respect, and boosting self-esteem are benefits of team sports that deserve more light shed onto them.
First off– social skills. Yes, kids can learn social skills from a number of different things like participating in group projects and playing with other kids during recess, but team sports actively encourage the involvement with others in a way that group projects don’t. In group projects, kids can do their parts separately, merge them together, then pass. In team sports, it’s team effort or bust.
It isn’t just about winning, though. As cheesy as it sounds, the journey is more important than the destination. Camaraderie among teammates is what makes practices worth attending. The special bond between teammates is different compared to making friends any other way; it’s almost a familial bond– you hate some of them, you love some of them, you can be a bit dysfunctional, but in the end, you’re a family and you wouldn’t have it any other way.
Next, respect. While it’s true that athletes participating in solo sports also learn respect, in team sports, it isn’t just learning to respect the referee, coach, or other officials; it’s learning to respect your teammates. Sometimes it comes in the form of stepping aside to let the better player pave the way to victory. (Sports anime fans know what I’m talking about) Sometimes it’s respecting the views of another teammate in relation to tactics and game plans and how things could be done. Other times it’s just respecting whom a teammate is as a person. Regardless of the situation, it’s respected. Not just for authority, or in relation to position, just mutual respect among team members for the sake of respecting.
Last but not the least, self-esteem. In a world surrounded by skinny women, buff-as-hell men, and overachievers, self-esteem is a rare and precious thing. Not only do team sports offer a constant means of exercise, but they boost your confidence in a number of ways. Seeing your hard work come to fruition is one of the best feelings a person can experience and can inflate anyone’s ego, if only for a little while. Months of blood, sweat, and tears ending in victory is truly an indescribable feeling.
There are lots of things people can learn from team sports, and sports in general. Some have yet to be put into words, and some have been discussed for decades. Nevertheless, there’s still much to learn, especially for those who aren’t currently involved in any sports.
Wanna get started on sports? Read this article and see what you’ve been missing!