Love sporty

What is more, we may even have very active Interact clubs and work flat out in a bid to get incredible results, but if we do not play sport we have actually got nowhere.

We may think we have incredible academic success and even remarkable insights but if we do not play sport in our schools, we are nothing but a loud and frightening noise.

We may even have an incredible ability to promote our school with powerful testimonies and clear explanations with great and passionate belief in what our school offers, but if we do not play sport in our school, we are actually nothing, an empty shell.

What is more, we may even have very active Interact clubs and work flat out in a bid to get incredible results, but if we do not play sport we have actually got nowhere.

It does not matter what we market, what we promote, what we do, we in effect have absolutely nothing to offer without sport.

Sport is very valuable for pupils as they face life. Do not strut around arrogantly as if you are better than others; do not become big-headed.

Equally do not consider yourself to be bigger than others in the team (“No-one is bigger than the team,” so say the All Blacks); it is not always about “me first”.

Do not fly off the handle at what you consider to be bad decisions (whether by teammates or officials), and do not keep score of the mistakes of others.

When you win, “do not revel when others grovel”, and do not hide from the truth of what really happened in the game.

Many people do not see such things clearly yet; it is like we are squinting in a fog, peering through a mist. But one day the weather will clear and the sun will shine brightly – perfect weather for sport! We will understand it all then, see it all as light as day!

But for right now, until that completeness, we have three things to do to lead us toward that consummation: we need to trust our coaches implicitly, hope for vital lessons to be learnt unswervingly, love sport extravagantly. And the best of the three is love.

Does any of that sound familiar in any way? Perceptive readers might well recognise that in fact we have simply juxtaposed the word ‘sport’ for the word ‘love’ in the well-known biblical passage of 1 Corinthians 13.

As love is at the centre of life, giving purpose and joy, so a love of sport is at the centre of sport, providing a similar sense of purpose, joy and fulfilment.

There is so much to sport that is of massive benefit to us all, youngsters and adults alike.

Our responsibility to our children is to ensure we instil in them not just an understanding and an ability in sport but more importantly a love for it.

We are not to make sport a god (far, far from it), as sport will never bring complete and deep satisfaction or fulfilment. However, without it, as a human being, we are not complete either; we compete to complete.

We need to understand that when it comes to sport, certain key principles should always apply. Sport teaches us firstly, never to give up.

Things may seem tough, hopeless even, but playing sport instils in youngsters the determination to continue.

There are legendary tales of sports teams not giving up and scoring vital goals or points in the last few seconds of injury time.

We can think of numerous incredible comebacks that teams have made from seemingly impossible situations.

Above all, sport teaches children the need to put up with anything in the match and equally in life, not to be derailed by setbacks but to take the knocks as part of the process. 

Sport reminds youngsters to trust their coach always, even when we do not see the situation as he sees it.

It reinforces in youngsters the need to always look for the best, no matter what the scoreline may say, for as long as there is time left to play, there are opportunities to move forward. Sport teaches the invaluable lesson to never look back, to forget the errors that led to previous defeats or to the concession of a try.

Then sport also will instil in our youngsters a commitment to keep going to the end in every situation in life; we do not give up.

What crucial, vital, essential lessons these are.

Sport more than anything instils in youngsters the conviction that we need to care more for our teammates than for ourself; when we work as a team, backing, supporting, carrying our teammates, knowing they would do the same for us, then we learn valuable, crucial life lessons. “Love” in tennis denotes failure: Love-fifteen; love-thirty; love-forty. We need to turn that around and help our youngsters to grasp the reality that a love for sport will make them winners. Love sporty!

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