In our family, the kids took advantage of the great summer recreation programs and then the school organized physical activity and sports. I know there are sports related injuries that can happen, but on balance the benefits are well worth the risk.
As I see it, there are two major lessons resulting from all these childhood sports.
First, sports can help us realize the value of teamwork. When we work together, in collaboration and harmony, then not only do we accomplish more, but there becomes a sense of community that can become a template for the rest of our lives. This is an important lesson for not only the young people playing sports, but maybe a reminder for all the parents and fans up in the stands.
When people realize the value of the cooperative spirit and the energy enhanced by working together, then we have families that raise happy healthy kids and we have communities that hum with synergy.
Second lesson, sports can help us realize the value of physical conditioning. When we are young, we all seem to get some conditioning automatically. But as we play sports, after some aches and stiffness: muscles develop, breathing becomes easy, and everything works better than a well-oiled machine. At the end of track season, the senior year in high school, I remember thinking my body was working so good I could run almost forever.
It is that memory of optimal conditioning and the comfort and confidence that came with it, which has driven me to exercise as an adult. After some aches and stiffness, it feels very good to be in shape. The experience of sports as a youth taught me the value of physical conditioning.
More than 38 million children and adolescents participate in organized sports in the US each year. They learn teamwork as they bring their bodies into optimal conditioning. We should not forget the lessons we learn from sports.
Dr. Rick Holm wrote this editorial for "On Call®," a weekly program where medical professionals discuss health concerns for the general public. "On Call®" is produced by the Healing Words Foundation in association with the South Dakota State University Journalism Department. "On Call®" airs Thursdays on South Dakota Public Broadcasting-Television at 7 p.m. Central, 6 p.m. Mountain.