There are so many ways to be active out there it seems tough to pick one sometimes. But in the same breath, sometimes it’s that difficulty that leads so many people to not involve themselves in any sport at all! I find this to be depressing. Sports are activities that involve a level of fitness and skill and also include competition with another person or another group of people. This can range from what we all know of sport, like basketball and football, and ultimate frisbee, to lesser known ideas of sport like capture the flag, marco-polo, and Calvin Ball (if you don’t know what Calvin Ball is, you have never read Calvin and Hobbes and I feel bad for you!). The point is, sport does not need to always be some highly organized, incredibly structured league or anything. You could randomly get a group of people together and make something up! If you are competing against each other, using physical skill and athleticism, you are engaging in sport.
It’s my belief that it’s human nature to practice sport, just take a little time and watch children. They are constantly being active (running around, climbing, throwing, etc.), utilizing physical skills (building, balancing, etc.), and very often they are competing (“I can run faster than you!”, “can you pick this up too?”, I want to play with that toy!”). From the moment we have the ability to process just a hint of how this world works, we engage in sport. I would even argue that most kids learn the majority of things they learn growing up through engaging in sport. I feel I can say this because I have so rarely met a kid who doesn’t find some way, every single day, to do it. I remember from as far back as I can how every single day I was out with my friends finding something to do. Either playing basketball, football, or baseball; to making up games we could all play. Some of my favorites were hide-and-seek in the dark and some of the manhunt games we created in the woods. We would gather around and come up with rules, set boundaries for the game, decide through discussion amongst us how the game would be played out. Then we would dive right into it with every ounce of passion and excitement we had.
But as we get older we begin to realize certain things like: being physically active is hard work, and sucking at something is depressing! So, many people give up on sport because of whatever insecurities and fears they may have. And in doing so, these people give up a HUGE aspect of what it means to be human. And what do we see as commonalities on our culture these days? Obesity, weakness, disease, depression, social anxiety, and on and on. Sport in many ways is meant to be a very serious deal (like when people are getting paid way too much money to do it), but besides that, it’s supposed to be FUN! It’s supposed to be what we as humans just do naturally. We learn how to move, how to control our bodies, how to interact with others, teamwork, how to handle success AND failure. I learn more about another human in 30 minutes of sports than in any other setting I’ve been in.
It’s very, very hard to hide who you are when you are being challenged at all aspects of being a human being. But it seems more time is spent trying to protect ourselves from all the potential negatives of sport forcing all the lessons we can learn to be less and less. It’s easier to get out of participating at school because of “physical issues” or “emotional issues”. If a kid runs home crying to his/her mother that they lost at a sport, or got picked last in a pickup capture the flag game, all of a sudden the school is getting yelled at by the over-protective parents and rather than standing up for the benefits of sport, they outlaw it all-together. This not only depresses me, but it actually scares me. The fear and insecurities towards sports in general I see in adults, and even worse, in children, is a sign of a regressing world.
If it helps you to engage in sport by thinking about all the little ins and outs of it, cool, then do that. But if that is overwhelming (like it is for most people), just get out and enjoy it. Find a setting that isn’t intimidating at first so that you can slowly get over the fears of it all and take advantage of all the great benefits of it. Make up a game to play with your friends that involves being physical, utilizing any sort of skills, and that’s competitive. And make rules that work for all you. Or, play a sport that everyone already knows the rules to. Or, to give you even more options, take a sport like football and change up some of the rules just for fun. The point is, HAVE FUN! Enjoy the act that you are doing what you were meant to do and because of that you are getting better. Learn from it, make friends from it, laugh, get pissed, do it all! Sport is great, it’s natural, and it’s not practiced enough these days. Never Stop, GET FIT.
Fitmark Ambassador 2013