Monday, 2 February 2015

Why (I Think) Sports Are Important

I've been involved in sports since I was little.  I started speed skating somewhere around the age of 4, did recreational gymnastics (I was not very good or flexible), I played soccer (both rec and competitive) and I did soccer and cross-country running all through elementary school and high school.  While there are the obvious physical benefits to being involved in sports and in doing physical activity I've come to realize recently how beneficial it has been for me socially.

the last soccer team
I was a shy and somewhat anxious child, I've always been kind of a professional worrier, and even now I'm easily intimidated by other people.  Being involved in a sport or a member of a team where I was around the same group of people a few days a week forced me into social situations and because we were doing an activity there was always a common topic to talk about.

When I went to a different high school than all my friends joining the cross-country team put me a little more at ease and made me feel like I was involved in the school and not just floating invisibly through the hallways.  Although none of my best friends from high school ended up being in cross-country, meeting a lot of different people through the years of skating and playing soccer made me a little more comfortable to talk to people I didn't know because I'd been exposed to situations like that over and over.

Senior girls cross-country team 
More recently when I moved to Calgary for skating it was less terrifying than it could have been because I knew I was going to be around other skaters every day, even though I didn't know most of them, but I could calm myself down with the knowledge that I would be around people who were in the same situation as me so I was bound to get along with someone.  Travelling for skating and moving has even made me more confident going forward because I know that if I were to move somewhere else I would probably be able to find some other people to get along with (the idea of being isolated, friendless, and alone could have been enough to stop me from doing things/going places before).

Skating training camp, look at how many friends!
Based on the way that I react to some social situations still today I wonder if I hadn't always done sports and been on teams whether I would have ever been able to even leave home (also if I would even have any friends because I'm pretty sure I made a lot of my friends because I was good at gym class).