“In life, as in football, the principle to follow is to hit the line hard.”
~ Theodore Roosevelt
They say “Art imitates life.”…but what about sports? Do Sports imitate life? If Sports were art would…well, maybe sports are art. Who says they can’t be?
The bottom line is people don’t always realize how important sports are in our lives. Obviously they provide an outlet for aggression and allow us to follow a structured format with rules.
Among many facets too numerous to list, they are entertainment, keep us physically fit, and we learn about how to be a good leader. As I grew up and looked in the rearview mirror it occurred to me that three teams have had very profound impacts on me in their own very unique ways. The Saint Louis Cardinals, The Saint Louis (yes) Rams, and The Saint Louis Blues. Recently I was reflecting after a season ending Rams loss (now Los Angeles) to the Atlanta Falcons and I asked myself why I like the Rams so much. What is it about the game we grow to love?
Sometimes it’s helpful to sit back and think about why we like sports. We’re all too easily caught up in the heated competitive moment and we forget they add a lot to the qualities of our lives. Ultimately if we all look at the teams we adore and reflect for a moment on why…we come to realize being a “fan” of a sports team may be impacting us in deep-seated ways we hadn’t come to realize.
With that being said here are 3 Life Lessons I’ve learned from Sports.
1. Winning Matters
Don’t ever let anyone tell you otherwise. Winning matters in life. But it’s not just about winning. It’s how you respond after losing. By understanding the value of winning one can recover from losing much easier. It’s not how many times you get knocked down in life. It’s how you respond after taking the fall that counts.
Like in games, there is a score in life. But you will not always be winning the game. The key is how you respond during the times you are losing to put yourself in a position to win. By understanding the value of winning and taking specific note of how I respond to failures in my life it has strengthened my core and allowed me to develop as a human being.
2. Keep on Swinging
I love this quote:
My motto was always to keep swinging. Whether I was in a slump or feeling badly or having trouble off the field, the only thing to do was to keep swinging.
In Major League Baseball they play 162 games. It is a marathon. Over the course of a long season players get injured, win, lose, get little sleep, dive into fences, get heckled by fans, get hit in the chest with 93 mph fastballs, play double headers in 95 degree heat, sit in long rain delays until all hours of the morning, and many other challenges one has to endure during Baseball’s 6 month marathon. But one thing is consistent. They’re always swinging.
I thought about how this pertains to life. We are always swinging. Whether it’s finding a new job, a new partner, the challenges of sustaining a marriage, or various other unpredictable pitfalls and disappointments we are constantly having to dodge, there’s one constant. We are swinging. If we stop trying, what is left? Nothing. Therefore, we press on. The only way through something is to keep going. Keep swinging. As the great Winston Churchill once said, “If you’re going through hell, keep going.”
3. Respect Vs. Agreement
I loved the moment in Super Bowl XLIX when Richard Sherman went up to Tom Brady and they shook hands. The two had some minor scrirmishes in the media leading up to the big game. What was so special about this moment is it showed at the end of the day the two despite disagreeing, respected one another. That’s what counts.
People underestimate the amount of respect we learn from Sports. Not just for ourselves, but for others. Also it’s not just about respecting your teammates. That is a given. It’s also about respecting those on the opposing teams. Teamwork is required in most (but not all) sports for a unit to operate at an effective level. Before you can have a functioning team you must come to know and even more importantly respect those around you. One of my favorite moments in football is when both teams greet each other at midfield after the game to shake hands, hug, pray, and converse with one another. At the end of the day, everyone is friends and everyone respects the work they are putting in to compete.
This mindset is pivotal to success outside of the game. Whether it’s friends family, or work people must respect one another for mutual gain. The light that shines through one person only comes because they not only gave to others but even more importantly they respected their views, goals, and beliefs. One might not always agree with someone, but almost always it’s important they respect them..
By Geoff Pilkington
You can connect with me on my website at www.geoffreypilkington.com