Building Character Through Sports: Lessons for Life
Everyone has most likely seen that one tv show or movie about that one boy who was no good and did bad things, until the day he picked up either a football or basketball that he changed for the better? Not only is that the stereotypical story behind many athletes but it is also the truth. This is sports build character essay where I will share some arguments for this statement.
Many athletes use sport as an outlet for their individual trials and tribulations they face growing up as a child. The use of participating in sports strongly affects one's character and how they impact their own life and the world as a whole. As famously stated by Charles R. Swindoll, “Life is 10 percent of what happens to you and 90 percent of how you react to it”. This, in fact, is insanely true and the use of sport participation is what validates this quote. Sports and coaches with positive attitudes have an extreme impact on every athlete, it helps to motivate, discipline, teach and mold the minds of anyone who has dedicated themselves to a sport(s).
While growing up in a single parent household, without a father being present, life was hard. Sports helped to instill strong respect, and discipline while allowing me the opportunity to exert any aggression or energy that an adolescent child would contain. The first time I picked up a ball and declared my dedication was in elementary school when I played basketball. I am now a freshman here at The Alabama State University where I am an active member of the football, the first time I played football for a team was in 8th grade. In an article titled “ A systematic review of the psychological and social benefits of participation in sport for children and adolescents: informing the development of a conceptual model of health through sport,” it was found that it was many social health benefits reported. “With the most common being improved self-esteem, social interaction followed by fewer depressive symptoms”. Within the article, it was found that sports may be associated with psychosocial health above and beyond improvements attributable to participation in physical activity. Sports have affected numerous lives including mine and not just for any reason, sports participation has left a positive effect in the lives of mine and others. After elongated time was spent on extensive research it was found that for people ages 5-17 it is required that recommended that they undertake moderate or vigorous activities for at least 60 minutes per day. The results from participating in these vigorous activities include increased physical fitness, reduced body fat, favorable cardiovascular and metabolic disease risk profiles, enhanced bone health, and reduced symptoms of depression and anxiety.
LeBron Raymone James a 6’8 basketball player from Akron, Ohio is a proper example of positively reacting to what life throws at you. Lebron was born to Anthony McClelland and Gloria Marie James but was single handled raised by Gloria due to his fathers lack of parental interest. When LeBron first showed interest and skill within basketball he was moved in with Frank Walker at the age of nine. LeBron was drafted into the NBA at the young age of 18 and since then LeBron has gone onto to do marvelous things. “I think the reason why I am who I am today is because I went through those tough times when I was younger” explains Lebron. In most recent times James has worked to help improve the impoverished community he once grew up in by building a school titled “I Promise” whose sole purpose is to guarantee live changing experiences for those who come from very little just as he did. Not only has he built a school but he also took a stand against racism in America by using the criticism of others and turning it into a Showtimes series titled “Shutup and Dribble”. Lebron is merely a prime example of taking what life threw at him and creating masterpieces by reacting in a positive manner. With the help of sports and all of the positive intakes that one is able to receive from it his response to life has changed immensely.
Just as LeBron was able to shift his circumstances by the help of sports being the base of his inspiration, so can any athlete. In the article titled: “ International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences” it was found that “individuals have experience desired effect of their participation such as positive peer relationships, display courage, respect, rules, become competitive, show leadership and foster citizenship”. These core values were created from the lessons of sports, these lessons consist of the long practices, the losing, and winning of games, pep talks from coaches and learning how to play as a team. Many athletes come from a home filled with life’s many obstacles and are oblivious to the struggles endured by others. With the help of team bonding, one can learn to take problems of others into consideration. With the help of the article previously stated it was found that there are several strategies used by most coaches to ensure positive character development. These strategies include being a good role model, teaching how to learn from failures, teaching what it means to treat your opponents fairly, and modeling the “Six Pillars of Character”. The Six Pillars of Character include trustworthiness, respect, responsibility, fairness, caring, and good citizenship. It was also found that coaches are responsible for creating a written code of conduct the importance of good character and specifies ethical obligations and sportsmanship expectations. These code of conducts whether they are verbally known or written out help to create a positive and learning atmosphere. Words spewed from one's mouth has an effect one's outcome, when coaches speak words of positivity and encouragement those words plant seeds into the minds of those athletes and when continued teaching and grooming is done the seeds will bud into a person who is stronger than they once were.
In most recent times at Alabama State University, a student by the name of Ivry Hall had the chance to tell his story at the freshmen Honors Convocation. Ivry is an eighteen-year-old freshman from the Southside of Chicago. In Ivry short span of life, he has endured many trials and tribulations but looked to boxing as a way to escape. As a child, Ivry was involved in an accident where he was told he would never be able to walk again. Ivry then began living a childhood filled with trouble and trials When Ivry was just twelve years old he lost his mother to cancer, forcing him to move in with his cousins. His mothers death motivated him to do better and be better at life, he did this by becoming active in sports. Staying busy in the boxing ring is what kept Ivry in school and motivated. 'I don't believe in giving up, and I think that failure is not an option,' explains Hall. Throughout his high school career, he had to take three buses and one train in order to make to school. During his senior year of high school, Ivry’s father died from lung failure leaving him broken and hurt once again. But that did not stop him, Ivry worked so hard until he graduated Valedictorian and received a scholarship to The Alabama State University. Ivrys reaction to his life could have been negative but he decided to be positive and find something that helped him remain motivated. With the help of boxing, he was able to build a stronger character and not only graduate but he also beat the odds that were stacked high against him.
In the article titled “Sports Build Character ?!” written by Joseph Doty at the United States Military Academy, it is stated that character traits can only be developed through a sporting experience only if the teachers and coaches allow it to be. Coaches set the tone for what is to come from a sports team, especially how their athletes act and react to certain situations. “The characters of persons, in conjunction with their personalities, make up who they are and how they act”. The character of an athlete is simply molded from the treatment given off by the coach when given respect an athlete will give respect. In vice versa, the attitude of the athlete is prepared from the coaches. Sports itself does not teach the student how to act or train their mindset but yet the environment in which the sport is taking place. “ The goal in these settings is appropriate and responsible for the behaviors and values that are developed in sports and physical education classes will also be used outside the school, in the home, and out in the community”. Sports in itself is incapable of strengthing the mindset of those who partake in it, it is merely the director who has the key to elaboration. With proper teaching and guidance, sports are then capable of creating better characters and people as a whole.
To sum up, as previously stated before, it is a well-known fact that sports have an impact on the lives of those who partake in them. But with the help of one's coach or teacher, it will then teach and or create a better personality of many. Sports have an effect on how one reacts to life due to how they react towards winning and losing during sporting events. When one takes from what they learn while participating in sports, that in fact displays the lessons one can learn from physical exercise and the atmosphere in which they are performing such exercise. The lessons come from who is teaching them the sport, rather than the sport itself. All in all, sports do have a way of building one's character.
- Bieler, Des. “LeBron James Turns 'Shut up and Dribble' Insult into Title of Showtime Series.” The Washington Post, WP Company, 7 Aug. 2018,
- Doty, Joseph. “Sports Build Character?!” Journal of College & Character, vol. 5, no. 3, Apr. 2006, pp. 1–10. Google Scholar.
- Eime, Rochelle M, et al. “A Systematic Review of the Psychological and Social Benefits of Participation in Sport for Children and Adolescents: Informing Development of a Conceptual Model of Health through Sport.” International Journal of Behavioral Nutrition and Physical Activity
- Fauzee, Omar. “The Strategies for Character Building through Sports Participation.” International Journal of Academic Research in Business and Social Sciences, vol. 2, no. 3, Mar. 2012, pp. 1–12.
- “Who Is LeBron James? Everything You Need to Know.” Facts, Childhood, Family Life, Achievements
- Wls, et al. “Teen Overcomes Incredible Odds to Become Valedictorian, Attend Alabama State.” ABC11 Raleigh-Durham, 10 Aug. 2018