As many of you know, the 40th anniversary of Title XI was last Saturday. In honor of the occasion, I’ve decided to keep the celebration going with a new blog post. Last Saturday, I ran across an article from @SportsBizMiss, a sport business professional and secret mentor of mine. In the article, she recounts several life lessons she has learned from playing sports.  The article ended with a simple question that sparked my interest, “What did you get out of sports?”

And with that question, I began to travel down memory lane. In middle school I played club sports and in high school become involved in our sports medicine program. Then in college, I made the decision that if I couldn’t play sports, I’d be a sports business professional. Surely, there are a thousand life lessons to be learned from sports.  But, here are a few lessons that I’ve taken away from participating in sports.

  • Hard Work, Pays Off- In sports, there is no such thing as instant gratification. The countless hours of practice, watching film and running plays, is all a part of a process. A process that takes time and requires preparation. In a commercialistic society like ours, children often get caught up in the things that will make them feel good now, instead of delaying gratification for a bigger reward in the future. Sports force an athlete to forecast their future and make decisions on who they want to be and where they want to end up.
  • Respect– Sports not only teaches respect for authority, but respect for those who are talented. Respect is a hard thing to teach and even harder to give. Prime example, LeBron James. Love him or hate him, LeBron James is talented and there is no way to deny that. Dozens of people may dislike him for personal reasons, but those personal reasons do not diminish his talent. Everyone is talented in their own way and each person needs to be recognized and respected as such.
  • Winning is Fun! – This maybe an obvious lesson, but it’s one of my favorites. Think back to the last time you watched a trophy presentation, The ESPY’s or an Olympics medal ceremony? The one thing that always stands out to me is the smiles. Grown men and women beaming from ear-to ear like children. Winning is the accumulation of hard work, blood, sweat and tears. But, more importantly, it’s validation. Validation that you’ve picked the right path for yourself and you are here at this very moment because you never gave up.  And that, feels pretty damn good.
  • Life is a Marathon, Not a Race– This is one of the biggest things that I’ve taken away from sports. Sports coined the phrase, “Well, there’s always next year.” Seasons will pass, and champions will be crowned. Just like life, sports careers will have its peaks and valleys. Whether its injuries, lock-outs or suspensions, rough times will always pass if the hard work is there.

And there you have it, my two cents on the subject. Feel free to agree, disagree or comment. Until next time.