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Sports can be a teacher of life lessons

Published 7:00am Wednesday, October 15, 2014

Any future kids I might have are going to be strongly encouraged to play sports throughout their childhood and adolescent years.
It’s not because I want them to win at all costs or be the best athlete in their class. It’s because I want them to learn.
There’s a certain amount of education I feel I only could have received on a field. I was shy and timid as a kid and playing sports brought me out of my shell. There was no place to be reserved on the field because the game would not allow it. The natural instinct to run and play took over, and I forgot about everything else.
As I grew older sports became more serious, but that escape was still there. After Hurricane Katrina interrupted my senior year in 2005, soccer became a life source. There were no blue FEMA tarps draped over the nets as there were on so many houses, and for 80 minutes at a time, the huge field of thick green grass helped me forget the thick, stale mud that had settled in our old living room.
When we lost our final game and trudged off the field, I was devastated. It wasn’t until I was older that I realized how playing sports was more than an escape, it was an education. I had lost a lot of games in all the years I had been playing, but I had taken something valuable from it all.
I had fallen in love with the process of persevering. There was adversity, and there was overcoming it. Above all else, I learned that the feeling of failure was as permanent as you allowed it to be, and that’s the kind of sports success I wish for my future children.

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