Youth Sports are Beneficial
Works Cited Not Included
Nearly every child, at one point or another in his young and impressionable life, has particiapated in sports. Whether it is a pick-up basketball game at a playground after school, or organized Little League, complete with ninety-foot bases and replicated major league uniforms, sports play an intricate part of the development and maturation of a youngster. Beneath it’s presumed purity, however, lies an occasionally seedy underbelly. Win-at-all cost coaches and tyrannical, overbearing parents have turned this innocent recreational activity into a nightmarish hell for some juvenile participants, and have left many wondering if sports is a helpful or a harmful stage in a child’s life.
Conventional wisdom tells us that the greatest rewards obtained by sport participation is how it enhances ones growth physically. A valid point, yes, but that cannot be the only reason. If so, how can you explain coaches and parents who take their amateur atheletes out for greasy pizza or fattening ice cream the minute after the last pitch is thrown or the final goal is scored? In a recent survey conducted by Sean Slade in the March 1999 addition of The Journal of Physical Education, Recreation, and Dance, 250 families who had children in grades three through five were asked a simple question: “Why do you want your child playing sports as they grow up?” Astoundingly, the responses were three-to-one in favor of the mental, rather than the physical
benefits that sports has to offer(Slade 1999).
Parents stated that aside from buidling muscles and strength, sports gives children a chance to learn about sportsmanship, teamwork, persistence, fair play, self-esteem, and above all, enjoyment. Sports also offers a wide variety of mental and social gifts. Children learn from early age that unless everyone participates and everyone succeeds, the ultimate goal cannot be reached. And for those who were a bit down on themselves because their grades are not as a high as a friend or a sibling, their self-esteem can be boosted by a good perfornance on the field. Even kids crippled by severe shyness can emerge from their shell by spending hours in the dugout or on the sidelines with their peers. But above all, participating in sports can lead to hours and hours of
unbridled enjoyment. After spending seven hours in a stuffy classroom, their is no better way of blowing off steam than by hitting a baseball, sinking a layup, or running a touchdown into the endzone. Children get a chance to emulate heroes like Jordan, McGwire, and Moss every time they step onto their respective of field of play.
Maureen Weiss, PhD, of the University of Oregon, also agrees that sports do more than enhance biceps and up hand-eye coordination. Said Weiss, “Physical activity and sports have tremendous potential to enhace children’s self-esteem and motivation.” Weiss’s research consisitently proves that self-esteem and perceptions of...