My granddaughter is a middle schooler having just entered eighth-grade. She is very athletic and focused her talents on dance for many years, but last year she discovered volleyball. I was thrilled personally because I can now go and watch her play. But it also started me thinking about the importance of team sports for our young people. In volleyball , you need someone to dig out the opponents’ serves, a setter to put the ball in just the right place so the outside player can finish off the play. If one of these players doesn’t do their job, it puts real strain on the whole team.
There is something incredibly healthy about being part of a team. A player is not on the court for her own glory, she is there to help the team succeed. This is a model that carries over into other facets of life. We are responsible for how our actions affect those around us. Each person must put the interests of the team ahead of her own individual needs. That’s how it works in team sports. That’s how it works in life.
Team sports can also have some downsides. Good sportsmanship can be sacrificed for winning at all costs. Pressure from overly competitive families can rob athletes of the fun of competing. As far as deciding how important winning should be, I know two things for sure. One, winning is not everything and two, losing is not the end of the world. Somewhere in between those two extremes lies an acceptable level of importance that you must find for yourself.
Whether you are athletic or not, you will still have the chance to be a part of a team in school and beyond. It is a great way to raise the quality of your life. Enjoy it!
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