The lessons and values I gained from sports

The lessons and values I gained from sports

Honourable mention article in Pen-tathlon Article Writing Competition by Prabashvi Kahatuduwa-Kothalawela Defence University

Have you ever loved something so much that you could never think of a life without it? This is exactly what it is for me when it comes to sports. Sports have been a life savior for me for the past 23 years of my life and it has in fact molded me into what I am today.

As a little girl, I was quite different from other girls of my age. I was more playful, active and extra energetic. This might have been the reason why my nursery teacher called me the Bullet of the class. Besides all of this, I was such a mischievous kid and I remember always getting scolded by my teachers. My parents were very much worried about their daughter not behaving like rest of the girls. This is when my parents decided to engage me in sports when I was just 6 years old. Ever since that Ive been an athlete, a squash player, a tennis player, a rower, a swimmer, a boxer and even a weight lifter. As a matter of fact, whenever the word sport was heard, my name was there. Here I am , in this fine evening, trying to gather my thoughts to write on how sports have influenced my life throughout the years. I can still remember that 6 year old version of myself. I didnt have much friends, I was quite selfish, I had no self-control, I didnt have much self confidence and worst of all I could not face defeat. Many years from that, I stand on my own feet today as an independent woman who is completely different from her childhood life. In fact it was all due to certain unforgettable incidents and some important people I met during my sports career, that I changed in a better way.

First and foremost sports made me extremely fit. Not just physically but also mentally. While it helped me gain a great physique, it also helped me to become a rational thinker, a quick decision maker and a person with a calm state of mind. Moreover sports planted seeds of self control, self discipline and confidence in me. It made me a go getter, no matter how difficult the situation was. Sports have made me believe in myself and to love myself. During the past years and specially at university, there were times when I had to wake up at 4 am just to go for practices all alone and sleep at midnight because I had to balance my studies as well. There were also times when I had to eat the most terrible food items I could think of and at times I even had to avoid all my favorite snacks. I had to spend hours practicing but had no time to take a single break because I had to rush back to lectures. The truth is there were times when all these made me feel sad and depressed. However whenever I felt like giving up, I would always look back at how far I have come and reflect on all my good days and bad days in the same state of mind. If not for sports, this might not have been how I would have turned out to be or how I would have handled a depressive situation.

When it comes to defeat I have lost more than the times Ive won. As a kid I was always insecure about losing a match and thought that it is the worst thing that could happen to a person. I would cry all day and not talk to anyone. However this thought of mine changed when I lost a match, just by one point in a final all Island match.

That day while I was pathetically crying in the corner of a court my father walked towards me. He didnt say much but told me to remember one thing. That was its okay to lose because thousands of defeat will create one great victory one day and you will realize defeat itself has its own beauty. I didnt understand it back then but he was absolutely right. Defeat had its own beauty. It taught me to learn to live happily even when odds were not in favor, it made me to be a dreamer when there were no potential goals ahead of me, it made me to have faith in myself and not to put myself down just because I lost. From the time when I missed my opportunity to get selected into a local university despite getting 3 As to having to change my career objectives completely, the exposure I got through sports helped me to be more practical and realistic. Most importantly all those defeats paved the way for me to achieve most of my sports goals later on in life. However when I finally achieved most of my sports goals such as winning all island matches, captaining teams and getting university colors I was under a great awareness that both victory and defeat are to be enjoyed in the same way. You might win today and you might lose tomorrow, but it is always important not to lose yourself in the process. Sports have taught me the greatest lesson of making yourself happy in the face of great chaos.

 Sports have also made me link with many inspirational people. In fact I have bonded with my best of friends through sports. Ive learnt how to be a team player through them. When you do sports its always important to trust your team mates and bond with them and this teach you to be less selfish and more giving. Achieving goals as a team might be hard but it has its own beautiful consequences. It opens up a world of new knowledge, shared manners and great friendships. Another very important friendship you create because of sports is the friendships you create with your opponents. Sports made me realize that its better to have made a friendship that counts than to have an enemy that counts. No matter how much you might compete inside a court, it is very important that you respect your opponent both during your play and after that, as long as you make sure that you ultimately reach your end goal.

Last but not the least sports have made me a better human and made me realize that the greatest value of sport is that it teaches us to recognize the difference between winning and striving for excellence, the better but much harder achievement. It made me a person who inspires people to do better, a person who helps people in need and a person with a sensitive heart. Sports made me more ethical and always made me question things when they were occurring in the wrong way. It taught me to be quiet in certain situations and to raise my voice when it is important. All in all the values I gained from sports have in fact molded a mischievous little girl into a disciplined and independent university student. 

One of my favorite basketball players Michael Jordan once said,Ive failed over and over and over again in my life. And that is why I succeed. Thus let the values learnt through sports be you utmost guidance from the darkness to the light, just as it was for me.

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