Life lessons thru sport

There has been significant research into the life lessons learnt though being involved in club based sport.

Skills such as; leadership, discipline, commitment, respect and team work are just a few that spring to mind. Each of these skills are learnt by the participants through their active involvement in the game of their choosing. However, there are other lessons that are influenced by the behaviours of those around the participant, such as their parents.

Recently, I witnessed a situation at a junior sporting game that from the outside concerned me. I say outside because I was not privy to any conversations that may or may not have taken place between the participant and the club or whether there were other mitigating circumstances that contributed to the action I am about to explain.

The game in question was a high end underage contest that had just commenced the 3rd quarter. The participant hadn’t played to this stage and looked unlikely to until at least the commencement of the 4th quarter. The parents of the participant, who had been intently watching the game, rose from their seats and spoke to their child immediately after play had recommenced. It was at that moment that the participant gathered their belongings and along with their parents left the game and went home. As previously mentioned, I don’t know what conversations had taken place or whether there were mitigating circumstances surrounding the departure, but what it did look like was two parents removing their child from a game because they hadn’t been afforded the opportunity to play.

What message does this send to their child and for that matter the rest of the team? Team sport is just that; about the team. There is no ‘i’ in team. It is about supporting and encouraging one another through the highs and lows of the season and being ready to perform when called upon in the game.

Furthermore, if this child were to be confronted later in life and no doubt they will be, with a situation that requires perseverance and effort, are they most likely to walk away and give up because that’s how their parents taught them to act in these situations or are they going to be able to grit their teeth, so to speak, and continue on to a positive outcome?

Providing opportunities for everyone to participate in sport is a wonderfully inclusive consideration, but not always practical in every sense. Life lessons in club based sport are learnt from every aspect of the experience, not just the physical contest and not always at the responsibility of the club and its volunteers. Parents have a significant role to play as well and we should always remember that.