The Untold Importance of Sports
5 minute read
When I was younger, I saw sports as nothing more than a healthy hobby of athletic competition. I would watch almost every professional sport for entertainment, joined travel teams for baseball and soccer, and would even casually play sports with my friends that I was not as good at. Now that sports have been a part of my life for over 15 years, I have realized that there is much more to appreciate about sports from a different perspective. I believe that the sporting communities that students are a part of can teach them almost everything they need to know about how to live a positive & productive life.
I’ve learned so many important lessons about selflessness, respect, effort, communication, and many more important aspects of life just by interacting with teammates, coaches, and opposing teams’ players in sports communities. Coaches have always set such a great example for me in how to act on and off the field which was further solidified by my peers embodying this message and all following the example set by our coaches. This system continues to be effective today even at a college level, as I have continued to learn about the fundamentals of life on my college soccer team. For some of my friends growing up who had tougher situations at home, their coaches were the only positive role models in their life. They effectively grew up mostly by learning everything they could from their coaches and teammates through their early adulthood.
I love that the sports communities that I have been a part of are inclusive to everyone, providing the chance for kids to learn in a subtle way about the importance of diversity. Through soccer I have met so many friends for life who I would have never have had the chance to meet without the sport. Sports provide an avenue to bring so many people from different cultures together to a common ground to participate and enjoy something that they can all do together. Soccer is a sport that is popular all around the globe, and I have had the privilege to travel to different countries, to meet new people, and experience other perspectives through soccer, learning lessons that I may have if I had stayed in one place for my entire life.
With what I know about how different sports communities have influenced me throughout my life, I think that we can all use our sports teams as a greater platform to start teaching kids and young adults some of the more complex issues in life. I’ve been interning with SADD for the last couple of months, helping design a new set of micro-programs called Coaching for Safety, which is geared directly at that all-important coach/athlete leadership relationship. I know how much coaches and teammates have impacted my ability to learn life lessons, and the aim of Coaching for Safety is to expand the positive influence that coaches have on their teams by engaging athletes in conversation on avoiding destructive decisions and being positive peer role models. These quick micro-programs focus on issues that might not typically be talked about in sports communities like impaired driving, speeding, avoiding substances, and more, turning athletes into even greater community leaders than they already are.
I’m so excited to have had the opportunity to build this program with SADD, and I hope all of our coaches and teams throughout the State find this a helpful way to open up the conversation on tough topics that can help keep our student athletes safer! Coaches might be one of the few positive role models that students have if their home situations away from sports are difficult, and one great coach combined with the support from a bunch of positive supportive peers and teammates can be enough to steer a student from a negative future path to a positive one.
Want to access Coaching for Safety materials & programs? Check out Google Classroom here.
Greg Schebece is a graduate student from Dix Hills, NY. After graduating from Clarkson University in 2021, he is returning to pursue his MBA. He enjoys watching and playing soccer, hanging out with friends, and watching movies. Greg loves SADD because it is an opportunity to help raise awareness for peers about important issues that don’t get talked about enough otherwise, such as impaired driving.