Life Lessons Teens Can Learn from the World of Sports.
We were literally sitting on the edge of our seats as we watched the OU, and Texas games this weekend. There was so much adrenalin and determination on the field. The fans were enthusiastic and wildly cheering on their teams. This is football. Our teens have the will to win. They have team spirit. They are sometimes unrecognizable to us when we see how much determination and grit they show on the team. Unfortunately some of these students that we so admire on the team do a 360 degree turn when off the field. It almost seems like they leave all the good and admirable traits and characteristics on the field as soon as they take off the team jersey. How can we teach our teens to internalize the integrity, determination and strength they acquire on the field and live with that same moral code off the field?
1. Resilience and the will to win.
One of the things I most admire about the world of sports is the resilience the players show. You cannot keep a true athlete down. It doesn’t matter what the score board shows, you will still see players bumping chests and determined to win. I can never forget how the Cleveland Cavaliers came from a 3 -1 loss to win the overall NBA title. Everyone said it could not be done. This team defied history to become the first team in NBA history to overcome a 3-1 deficit and win it all. There are numerous cases even in our colleges of come from behind wins in various sports. Even athletes in the Olympics make a comeback when everyone thought it was all over. You would expect athletes to show this same resilience when they come into the real world. Some certainly do and are able to change careers and are seemingly very successful. Unfortunately, most of these young men and women don’t show this same resiliency in life. It starts with their school grades and the lack luster attitude some kids show when it comes to academics. We should help our teens realize that the ability to bounce back and excel lies deep within them. They have that power to excel both on and off the field. It is a choice. I’m not saying every athlete should be an A student but they certainly should show that same determination when dealing with all areas of their lives and do their best both on and off the field. Resilience is part of an athlete’s moral fiber and we must teach them that this trait will serve them well off the field as well.
2. Following Rules
What makes a teen whilst on a team follow all the rules and listen attentively to their coach and yet off the field break all the rules? Some athletes almost enjoy having a “bad boy persona” when off the field and go out of their way to break every rule in the rule book. These same athletes are held to high standards of behavior when on the team. Is it that we overly adulate them and let them believe that they are better than the next guy? Parents and coaches should hold teens accountable to the same standards of decency and discipline both on and off the field. Unfortunately some schools in an attempt to win games turn a blind eye when teens go out and misbehave and some even attempt to cover things up so they can remain on the team. It’s not just about winning games, it’s about winning at life. We do our teens no favors when we pretend they don’t have to follow rules. Hold them accountable both off and on the field. Give them a moral code to live by and it will serve them well when they venture into the real world. They learn great life lessons from the field and we should never let them think that they can get by with a slap on the wrist when they break rules. As the Bible says “teach a child the way he should go and when he is old he will not depart from it.” Proverbs 22:6.
The sports field is one of the best places we can teach a child about following rules.
3. Team Spirit
We all admire the team spirit we see on the field. Players support each other. They help a team member up when they are injured. They congratulate them profusely when they excel and support each other when they fail. They willingly take one for the team so that the team as a whole is successful. The Cheerleaders support and cheer their teams on both good days and bad. Athletes respect and take correction and advice from the team captain and coaches and become successful as a result. Aren’t these the same characteristics we want our teens to have off the field as well? These are the traits of good business people and good employees alike. Marriages would be so much more successful too, if young adults had this same attitude towards their partners. Team spirit is one trait that our young teens can embody and bring into the real world and this will make them extremely successful off the field as well.
The world of sports is truly enjoyed by most families and we admire the athletes who come to our home and give us so much to cheer for. We also admire the determination, resilience and will to win that we see in sports. Teen athletes can truly be successful leaders in life if they translate the lessons they learn on the field into their life off the field. The mark of a great athlete is one who never gives up when all the odds are against him. Our teens should also learn to never give up as they grow up and become young adults. They should live their lives with the same resilience, and learn to work with others and to live disciplined intelligent lives both on and off the field
As Michael Jordan said, “Talent wins games, but teamwork and intelligence wins championships”