3. Sports teach you how to lose gracefully. I once played on a men's basketball team that didn't win a game over a couple of years, but we learned to take it in stride and simply enjoy each other's company.
4. Sports help you learn from your mistakes. My friend Bob Helmers (local tennis great) always says, "Either you win or you learn something." Sergio Garcia, one of golf's finest, finally won a major event (the Masters) at the age of 37 after 70 attempts.
5. Sports teach teamwork. This is especially true for football, soccer, basketball, lacrosse, hockey and volleyball, but even in the individual sports like tennis and wrestling, players practice together, challenge each other and support each other in order to achieve a team victory.
6. Sports teach you how to set goals and try to achieve them. Whether it involves moving from JV to varsity, lifting a certain weight, or reducing your cross country race time to under 20 minutes, you must figure out how to get there.
When I watched our high school baseball team win a state title recently, I took great pleasure in their joy and their accomplishments, partially because I had taught half of the starting lineup. It was the culmination of years of hard work for the players and their coaches, coupled with a lot of poise, confidence, and just plain heart. Hope springs eternal. And even those Cleveland Browns deserve a chance to redeem themselves.
Jim Brooks, a teacher and coach at Chaminade-Julienne High School in Dayton, is a regular contributor.
When you learn the basics of a sport, you can see yourself getting better at it, feeling more confident, and that may carry over into other areas of life.