Sports bring competition; teach morality, integrity and ambition; are exciting, amusing and challenging. But most of all, they bring us hope. Sports give us faith to live another day. We see our favorite athletes, and we are amazed by them, and it gives us a sense of hope that no matter what challenges or hurdles we have in our daily lives, we can conquer them all.
Sports, with their impact and influence, have always had a place in society. There can be many instrumental development objectives and lessons realized through sports. Their value is sometimes underestimated, but as anyone knows who has ever been to any sporting event, it can literally reshape the foundation of a community.
There’s just something about the sports dynamic that transcends all social, political and ethnic barriers.
Its substance crosses educational levels, religious preferences and all language groups. Its magnificent ability to unite people makes sport a powerful communication tool.
Many assistance programs use sports to reach people to tell them about important development issues such as awareness, drug-and-alcohol education, prevention, charitable functions, advertisement, etc.
Just look at successful organizations such as LiveStrong, led by cycling icon Lance Armstrong, or the Jimmy V Foundation, founded by the efforts of the charismatic and missed late coach Jimmy Valvano. Through sports, these organizations have raised increasing amounts of funds for the development of cancer research.
The famous Jimmy V speech, “Don’t give up; don’t ever give up!” has inspired people in all aspects of life. His tombstone reads: “Take time every day to laugh, to think, to cry.”
Then there are the health benefits for those who play sports and maintain active daily lifestyles.
The World Health Organization estimates physical inactivity is responsible for close to 2 million deaths each year globally. It further estimates that fewer than one-third of young people in countries around the world are adequately active to benefit their present and future health and well-being.
The most effective way to improve health is for communities to find ways to increase physical activity. Regular physical activity is important for building and maintaining healthy bones, muscles and joints. Acquiring better fitness levels also helps control feelings of anxiety and depression. It encourages other healthy behaviors, such as avoiding alcohol and drug use.
Sports are a powerful tool and have proved to bridge gaps in communities and give people hope.
Look at the city of New Orleans, which was devastated by Hurricane Katrina. People had lost hope, lost family members, pets, and morale. The city, though, bonded around its pro football franchise — the New Orleans Saints — and rebuilt an entire community and, as lagniappe, won a Lombardi Trophy.
It’s amazing how wonderful sports can be and how much can be accomplished through the foundations of sports.
Ironically, that’s what sports give us because no matter what team is your team, it will surely make you laugh, think, and cry.