Guest Column: Why sports are so important for kids

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By Julie Drake
Special to the Herald Times
RBC | Whether its sport fishing, tae kwon do, archery, bowling, wrestling, ice skating or basketball I like to watch and learn about sports and the competitors. I personally agree with “Shooter” Flatch in the movie Hoosier: Basketball is “the greatest game ever invented,” but they all are good.
All kids should be encouraged to participate one season in a sport. Either club sports, middle school sports or high school. Even if they end up disliking the sport, or find they just don’t have the desire or skills it takes, they should try one and here is why.
Sports teach kids:
– To take direction and respect authority—don’t even think of arguing with a referee or there will be consequences.
– To function as a team. As coach Norman Dale says in my favorite movie: Five players on the floor functioning as one single unit: team, team, team—no one more important than the other.
– When you start something, you finish it—quitting mid-event is not an option.
– To be situationally aware.
– Make quick confident decisions.
– To treat an injury, a rolled ankle, jammed finger or worse.
– Their community cares about them when the bleachers are full.
– To calm nerves and rely on their training in stressful situations.
– Tackle a foe—whether an opponent or just self-doubt.
– To be humble with victory and learn from defeat.
– Self-discipline to push one-self beyond the limits they perceived.
– What it feels like to become physically fit and hopefully develop life-long habits for getting and staying in shape.
– How to appreciate and understand a sport from the sideline or the couch.
These are lessons and keys to success a child can use for the rest of their life. I am so glad winter sports started, for so many reasons. Good luck to the Meeker Cowboys and Rangely Panthers!

Julie Drake

Julie Drake is the Rio Blanco County Public Health Director.