The proceeds for the annual Dayspring Dash 5K are placed into an athletic scholarship fund for the Weld RE-4 Windsor/Severance School District. The monies in the scholarship fund are used to pay athletic fees for kids who would otherwise not be able to afford to participate in sports at their school. Our 2013 event raised enough funds to help 39 kids participate in sports at their school! But why athletics? Why not use the proceeds for something else? The answer is really pretty simple – we believe in the merits of youth participating in sports!
Participation in team and individual sports has many practical benefits, and I could probably find scores and scores of research detailing these many benefits. For the purposes of this post though, we’ll just look at a few of the most important benefits:
- Character Development
- Community Identity
As kids participate in sports, they are presented with many experiences that are tough to prepare yourself for. Being able to succeed and fail in this relatively safe environment provides a great opportunity to learn how to cope with the realities of life later on. Competition produces pressure – pressure to win, pressure to execute your skills well, pressure to please your coaches and teammates with your performance. Learning how to cope with these pressures with grace, dignity and respect is an invaluable development opportunity for kids – an opportunity that will serve them well as they move into the workplace in the future, interact with people in their community, and deal with conflicts that arise in their lives.
Here is a quick list of some of the valuable character traits that can be learned and developed through sports:
- Discipline – practicing hard and honing your skills increases your chances of winning both on the field and in life
- Confidence without arrogance
- Graciously dealing with success (being a good winner)
- Graciously dealing with failure (being a good loser)
- Controlling your temper
- How to interact with people in authority over you (coaches, officials, etc)
Everybody wants to belong – God created us for community. Sports provide an opportunity for shared experiences that can grow teammates closer to each other and build a sense of shared purpose and identity. Parents are given the opportunity to share with other parents in the experience of cheering their kiddos on to victory and consoling them in defeat. As kids progress into Junior High and High School sports the sense of community extends to the neighborhood or town as many people come together to cheer our young athletes on.
Many families find that they end up building some of their closest relationships with other families over the shared sporting interests of their kids. These relationships often last well beyond the school years, and can help facilitate the lifelong gift of friendship!
Fitness is probably the most obvious benefit, but kids who play sports tend to value fitness as they move into adulthood. Physical fitness aids in emotional fitness, and simply allows for a more enjoyable and longer life. Ask your Doctor.
Are You Ready to Race?
Since athletics provide so many benefits to those who participate, we ought to do what we can to encourage participation in athletics! Are you ready to race to help more kids have the opportunity to grow through athletics? The race is in 30 days – hope you are training hard! See you at the finish line!