This past weekend I had the opportunity to not only spend time with family and close friends but as well to reconnect with some very important people in my life and one pretty cool and inspirational legend Donald Jackson. The Peterborough Figure Skating Club celebrated their 70 th anniversary of past, present and future athletes with an exciting gala and meet and great.
I’m so grateful to be part of such an incredible organization and to have been taught and inspired by influential coaches and team athletes. I truly believe that without these personal experiences I would not be the person and businesswoman that I am today.
Many people wonder why pay so much money out to their children to play organized sports and the actual difference that it could make in their lives. I have often wondered why would you NOT put your kids in to sports? From my personal experience, being involved in sports is a very important piece to personal growth and self-development.
As young as I can remember, my parents introduced me to a variety of sports including; swimming, track, equestrian, gymnastics, field hockey, figure skating and rugby (yes I played rugby!!) Having the opportunity to participate in youth sports was a fantastic way for me to explore and develop lifelong skills.
The one sport that I became passionate about and spent almost half my life participating in was Figure Skating. I always admired figure skaters for their unique combination of athleticism, artistic ability and passion to entertain. Still to this day their talent to make the sport look beautiful and effortless amazes me.
What really inspired me this past weekend was Canadian figure skater Donald Jackson. Jackson won an Olympic bronze medal during the 1960 winter Olympics and the world championship gold medal in 1962 at Prague, Czechoslovakia. The Oshawa native was also the first to complete a triple Lutz in an international competition.
At the age of 77 he still skates three times a week in a public sessions. As well, he teaches mostly CanSkate and adult skating. He does work with some singles skaters, but loves working with young skaters, trying to instil in them a love of the sport and lessons in life just as he has experienced.
Mr. Jackson shared with me that he gained so many life lessons from his sport growing up even though at times he felt that he had to make certain sacrifices. Sports encourage development of friendships, a supportive community, leadership skills, self-confidence and physical longevity.
Sure, as a kid it may have seemed over whelming to be on the ice daily, participating in school sports, doing house and barn chores plus making time for homework. However the sacrifice I made was completely worth the life lessons I experienced.
So, if you ask what is the big deal about playing sports as a kid? These are a few reasons how it has helped me along my journey.
Growing up playing sports can help children develop social skills that will benefit them throughout their entire lives. They not only learn to interact with other children their age, but also with adults in their coaches and sports officials. Kids learn leadership skills, team-building skills and communication skills that will help them in school, their future career and personal relationships.
Participation in sports can have a huge positive impact on a child’s self-esteem and confidence. Children who participate in sports get praise and encouragement from coaches and parents, which helps to build self-confidence. They also learn to trust in their own abilities and ability to push themselves. Constructive criticism is also a major part of sports participation, and young athletes learn to accept such criticism and use it to their benefit to grow as an individual.
Sports participation promotes health and wellness not only through childhood but throughout a person’s lifetime. Many sports are especially beneficial because the child can continue to play as an adult, benefiting from the physical activity and social connections. Children who participate in sports might also be more aware of healthy food choices that can be instilled at a young age.
Discipline becomes a natural part of life when one starts spending time playing sports. This is because sports inspire the person to live life by certain rules and regulations and move towards a positive end. Children who indulge in sports feel healthier and develop better and healthier relationships with other people because a positive, team-based outlook is instilled in them.
Goal setting means that every person needs to have an idea about what he/she wants, whether that is in a sporting game or in life. Sports help in goal-setting and can improve performance level in other areas of life.
Helps put winning into perspective.
This can be a challenging subject for some kids. Participating in team sports gives kids the opportunity to gain an understanding of both winning and losing, as well as to recognize the value of every teammates’ abilities in contributing toward a shared goal. Kids who play sports quickly learn that sometimes you win and sometimes you lose. They learn to be a good sport in both situations. It also helps them learn to deal with disappointment and go on.
Life Long Friendships
Joining a sports team gives kids a sense of belonging and the opportunity to make new friends. Some may even become buddies for life! Getting involved in a sport also gives kids another social circle outside of school.