Competition is an integral part of human nature. In fact, competition is an integral part of nature in general. However, humans differ from animals in that we do not have to compete for the necessities of life. Instead, we compete for the best jobs, the preferred mates, prestige, and other things. This is one reason parents and adults should stress the importance of encouraging children to play sports.
Competitive sports provide an outlet for kids and adults to socialize, have some fun, and see who or which team is best at that particular game. They create a form of stress, known as eustress; that is actually good for the body. This type of stress releases endorphins, hormones that make the person feel good as opposed to distress, which can lead to illnesses of different types and other health problems.
Another reason to encourage active play lies in the current epidemic of childhood obesity. Children need to get moving and be active for at least an hour every day. This will help them to develop a healthy metabolism that burns calories and builds up muscle instead of fat. In addition to preventing the onset of a number of diseases that arise from being overweight, this will also help them to maintain a positive body image and feel better about themselves.
Developing the habit of participating in physical activity as a child will usually lead to an adult that leads a healthier life. In many cases, active children can also get parents involved and moving as well. This leads to lifestyle changes throughout the entire family that can lead to improved overall health.
In addition to the physical benefits of sporting activities, there are several life skills that can be learned by participating in sports. The first is the idea of teamwork. Some people find it difficult to work with others toward a common goal. Sporting events offer individuals the opportunity to be a part of something that can be greater than the sum of its parts. Each contributes in his/her best fashion toward the goal of scoring and/or keeping the other team from scoring.
This type of cooperation is essential in the adult world. Companies generally ask employees to work as members of teams with each team assigned specific tasks or projects. Those who lack the necessary skills to be a part of such a team often do not advance in their careers while those who have and use these skills can rise through the ranks as long as they continue to apply themselves.
The development of the type of work ethic that employers seek is another benefit of participation in such activities. Children learn early that in order to succeed in their chosen sport, they must practice frequently. Those who truly excel at their chosen event often spend several hours each day engaged in activities designed to improve their performance.
Those who are unwilling to practice at times other than on game day find that their performance becomes less than that of those who do practice. No amount of natural talent can make up for the gains made by those who practice consistently over those who do not.
Another potential reason to encourage sporting activities is financial. While it cannot be counted on to happen, there are many young people who develop their talents and abilities to a degree that allows them to enter into playing their favorite sport professionally.
These individuals often find that they can have a very lucrative career with salaries into the millions of dollars per year depending on what game they play and how much they actually participate as professionals. Even those who do not reach the professional level can enjoy a certain amount of prestige and fame by participating in the Olympic Games.
Encouraging kids to participate in sports is very important for a variety of reasons. One is that games provide an outlet for the natural need to compete. Another is that sports provide a chance to develop social skills that will be needed in adult life. Active playing helps kids control their weight and avoid the development of weight-related health problems that have reached epidemic proportions.
Teamwork and a strong work ethic are both developed through participation in sporting events. These skills will prove most important throughout adulthood. Finally, children who engage in sports have the potential to turn playing into a lucrative career if they develop their talents to an advanced enough stage. Even if this does not happen, the rest of the benefits sports have to offer make it crucial that children start participating at an early age and continue as long as possible.