People need sports in their lives


Freshman Reagan Allen in the Milford Varsity vs. Rochester game during the 2019 Spring season (Photo courtesy of Jerry Rea)

Ashley Riggs, Asst. Managing Editor

What are most children doing in their free time? A survey by the Sports & Fitness Industry Association (SFIA) found that in 2017, 69.1 percent of children ages six through twelve participated in a team or individual sport. These numbers need to rise because of the amazing benefits sports can bring to people’s lives. Certain sports are not always fun for every child or teen, but there is a wide variety of sports to explore. The life-changing benefits range from the more obvious: staying in shape, keeping your heart rate up, and making healthy life choices, and all the way to preparing children for becoming adults: making them more responsible, dedicated, and independent.

Some may argue that a child can be benched, get injured, not make a team, or not fulfill an expectation, all of which can weaken confidence. While these are awful things that no parent wants their child to go through, overcoming these roadblocks is something necessary for growth and future preparation for the wide variety of environments kids will be subject to in life. Because life is not always going to be perfect, and when one is an adult and possibly trying to get a job, they won’t always be hired, or they will miss a deadline and get in trouble. If children and teenagers go through this at a young age they will be better prepared and handle things in a more proper manner.

“A survey of more than 14,000 teenagers found that those who participated in team sports were less likely to use drugs, smoke, have sex, carry weapons or have unhealthy eating habits,” was said in the Archives of Pediatric and Adolescent Medicine. This supports the claim that athletes get into less trouble. Since sports take up time, commitment, and expectations, it can lead athletes away from making decisions they will regret. For instance, most coaches have expectations that their players stay healthy, away from drugs, and dangerous activity, and most of the time if coaches find out one of their athletes are participating in one of those activities, they will most likely be cut from the team or club.

On top of that, most athletes need a well rounded diet in order to be able to perform to the best of their abilities, which may include consuming less sugar and fats. For example, research shows it’s a good idea for runners to eat lots of carbohydrates a day before a race in order to give them the energy they need. Also, for almost any sport, athletes need to stay hydrated and drink enough fluids. Not only can sports keep a child healthy, but they can also help athletes learn a proper, healthy diet needed in the future when adults have to shop and cook food for themselves. Diet isn’t the only thing that is improving the health of children; sports also give kids the exercise they need. Studies show that children need around 60 minutes of physical activity a day, and when a child plays sports, it is an easy way for those 60 minutes to fit in. Of course, going to the gym every day could also fulfil this time, but that can be difficult for most to do. Without a coach or trainer assigning practice times, people can easily skip going to the gym because they do not have the motivation. However, while on a sports team it is expected that you show up to practice, therefore it is harder for one to get out of their physical activity.

Then there is the commitment aspect of sports. Most people do not play a certain sport for a year then never play it again. Athletes tend to stick to a specific sport for years, in which they keep improving their skills and reaching new goals. They have to show up on time for practices and games, and make room in their schedule to fit the sporting events in.

Committing to something at a young age will make it even easier for one to be more organized when they live on their own and need to work, go grocery shopping, and perform other necessary tasks as an adult. Even in college, students need to be able to manage their classes, jobs, extracurricular, and their social life. The commitment to sports can help one keep on track and prioritize.

Sports are a necessity to help children and teenagers grow, learn, and have fun. They help prepare one for bumps along the road and teach a person how to manage things that can help in a wide range of occurrences throughout life. Through sports, people have an easy way to be healthy, keep out of trouble, and stay fit.