I remember the first time I ever played football. I was in sixth grade, and I had just joined our local team on a whim, with no prior experience, and no idea how to play the game. I remember not knowing what to do and a general lack of skill for the sport. I remember the first time that I ever got into a game, I committed a highly illegal block that took the form of an RKO (not even kidding).
Fast forward to seventh grade. I was on the modified team, and I still had no idea what I was doing. There was a silver lining. I wasn’t throwing around wrestling moves, and I had some semblance of what was going on. This was a big moment in my life, and I finally figured out that things took time.
Sports, more than anything, taught me about patience.
This is just one lesson that I can take from athletics in my hometown. Throughout the years, the two sports that I gravitated to were football and track. The two sports are similar in some respects, but opposites in others. Track, as a non-contact sport, is pretty individual, whereas in football, teamwork and performing your assigned duty can be make or break for a team. The two sports were important to me, and each taught me important lessons.
For track, it was that it didn’t matter what the person to your left or right was doing. What mattered was what you were doing. In the 100m dash, it was a sin for you to look towards the runners in the lanes around you. In doing this, you slow down, and chances are you’re going to watch those people run right by you. Your curiosity will cost you the race. I take this lesson with me everywhere; it doesn’t matter what’s going on around me, and all that matters is what I’m doing. You can’t concern yourself with others. Concern yourself with yourself, and you’ll win your race.
Football is a sport that teaches you about teamwork. Like I said before, it doesn’t matter how well you do, if someone doesn’t do their job, it all comes tumbling down around you. What that teaches you is pretty straightforward. Success is dependent on working as a team. When you collaborate, it is imperative that you do your job. On top of that, communication is key. In life, like in football, you need to know exactly what you need to do, and what the people around you are going to be doing. Without communication, everything that humans ever attempted to do would fall apart.
I’m sure anyone who has ever played a sport of any kind can attest to this, and that those who still play sports can say that their life has been positively impacted by them.