As an Adjunct Professor at Chestnut Hill College in the College of Education, I have my students write journals about a variety of topics. One of my students recently wrote a journal with the topic of “The Purpose of Sports”. She is a senior elementary education major who also plays on the school’s varsity soccer team. I was so impressed by the maturity and insight of her journal that I couldn’t help but ask if I could share it with others. I’d love to hear your thoughts about her opinion of….The Purpose of Sports

As a collegiate athlete, I believe that there are many different benefits of organized athletics. However I also believe that the culture surrounding professional sports does not show the benefits of athletics in a positive light. I am most impressed with organized sports with very young children or unorganized sports with people of all ages. Yet, the difference of organization or age does not change the purpose of sports, which is to bring people together with a common passion to create joy. But, in today’s win hungry society, this purpose is sadly being placed on the sidelines.

Sports have a way of connecting people not only in small towns and across state lines, but across the globe as well. Events like the FIFA World Cup and the Olympics connect a much bigger audience, not only made up of players and coaches, but of whole countries. These events not only highlight skill and sportsmanship, they also highlight teamwork and respect on a very large scale. However, sports in today’s society are often seen as being about stiff competition, merciless workouts, and an air of arrogance and lack of respect. Without humble athletes to look up to many young athletes will fall into the cycle of undisciplined pride that they see during many professional games.

Even though respectable professional role models may be hard to come by, I believe that young children can actually teach us a lot about the purpose of sports. Children who are just starting to learn a sport have a sense of wonder and love for the game they will be playing. They are always excited to practice and want to play for one reason only, to have fun. They respect the officials, their coaches, their teammates and the game, which is sadly lost as athletes grow. Furthermore, unorganized sports also share this same love and respect of the game, creating a wonderful environment to grow as a person and a player. While these elements of sports might be uncommon in the professional leagues, I know that the true purpose of sports lives on on small town fields and backyard courts.