I grew up being taught all sorts of stuff about how sports build character, teach discipline and sacrifice, and courage, teamwork, blah-blah-blah. But I believed it, and I grew up playing all the different sports. And as an adult, I played men’s softball and basketball for decades.
Here are the lessons I learned by being personally involved in sports.
*Sports bring out the worst aspects of your character. Oh, boy, do they ever! Crybabies, fat-heads, cheaters, bullies, liars, quibblers–you’ll find them all in lush abundance wherever sports are played.
*Sports have a way of becoming much more important to you than they should be.
Now I’m talking about playing the sports, not just watching them. You’d need an entire conference of psychiatrists to cover that ground.
One winds up asking, every now and then, “Why play at all? Do I really need this in my life?” Well, one does require exercise; and for some of us, solitary exercise is just unendurably boring. And let’s admit it–socking a homer, sinking a game-winning basket: these are fun. We do need fun in our lives.
On the balance, though, I wish I’d found more constructive ways to spend the time I spent in playing sports. I am sure it didn’t make me a better person. Just ask my wife what she thought of that softball team I was on for so many years.
Walking is dull, but at least it won’t blossom into a fist-fight.