How Sports Teach Young People To Never Give up

It was the last 45 seconds of the game when suddenly a teammate passed the ball into her hands. A Chest Pass is a two-handed pass from chest to chest without touching the ground in the basketball game.

For a second, she stood there numb, bouncing the ball on the polished hardwood floor. The seconds ticked by until she was jerked into action by the shouting on the sideline. “Throw it, throw the ball!”

It was the last 45 seconds of the game when suddenly a teammate passed the ball into her hands. A Chest Pass is a two-handed pass from chest to chest without touching the ground in the basketball game. For a second, she stood there numb, bouncing the ball on the polished hardwood floor. The seconds ticked by until she was...A tall guard loomed in front of her face. She moved to her right side, glanced at the round metal ring with the basket below, closed her eyes, and threw the ball toward the goal as hard as she could.

Relieved that the discarded ball had distracted the aggressive guard in front of her, she glimpsed at her coach. To her surprise, he had both his hands up in the air, cheering, and so was everyone else around him.

It took a moment to figure out what happened, but suddenly she realized she had made the basket and the winning point to place the team in 2nd for the district basketball tournament.

Teammates hugged her and patted her on the back. She was surprised when she was chosen to accept the trophy on behalf of her team.

It was a moment that still makes me smile when I think about it. Yep, it was me, and the funny thing about this story is that it was the only basket I made during my entire high school basketball career.

That’s because I wasn’t an outstanding player. Most of the time, I sat on the sidelines. Then, one of the players got hurt, and for some reason, the coach decided to put me in. It may have been because I always sat there, tried my best, or didn’t have anyone throw the ball to me.

On the other hand, maybe he just decided to give me a chance. Whatever it was, it was my only moment as a sports champion.

Just like most kids, the reason I went out for sports was to have fun.  Sure the competition is good, and if they do well, everyone notices. But even if they never score the winning point or become the player of the year, they should have a chance to enjoy being part of a team.

Our 10-year-old grandson, Cooper, has been on an Ice Hockey team for the last two years. It was hard for him initially, but he has learned a lot from being part of a team.

I called him and asked him what it means to be a team player.  He said, “Nana, it’s not about self or the best player.  There are so many different kinds of players on the team, but the important thing is that we work together.  Every member has their own strengths, and we are all there for each other.  It’s like having a friend group.”

Playing on a team teaches good sportsmanship. That helps when we are grown up, as our actions affect everyone around us. Being part of a family or working in a public job, we have to do what is best for everyone and not just ourselves.

Even though I was not a good player, I must have been in the right place when my teammate threw me the ball. She could have thrown the ball herself, but she chose to take a chance that I could make the goal.

Rules are an essential part of life, and one of the first public places kids learn about rules is on a team at school. I had to work on the rules in basketball. The buzzer was always sounding when I stood in one place, holding the ball too long, or stepped on a line that was out of bounds. These actions were called violations, and I made plenty.

In real life, there are rules we need to respect. When the light is red, we stop; when the light is green, we go. If we do that, most of the time, we will get across the road unharmed. Rules keep us safe.

Another important lesson learned in sports is respecting our teammates, opponents, and officials. As parents, we tend to center our lives around our children and their needs. In sports, children learn to think of someone besides themselves. How they treat each other will affect the entire team. Even how they treat their opponents can affect the team.

Learning to respect the coaches’ and officials’ authority can be a big part of being successful in life. But, unfortunately, it is a fact that children who do not learn to respect authority when they are young spend most of their life in trouble.

Playing basketball did not make me a great athlete, and my one moment of success did not make my parents push me into becoming a sports star. It did, however, teach me some valuable lessons that I use every day.

I learned that if you stay around long enough, try as hard as you can, someone might give you a chance, and if they throw you the ball, aim high and give it all you got, you might win.

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Deana Landers
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I have had many roles in life
Pastor’s Wife , Mom/Nana , Nurse/Health Educator, Writer , Christian Speaker
I can't remember a time when I wasn't writing stories, either in my head or in my journal.

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Story Comments

  1. Pressing on and finishing the course, even the game is an important lesson. great story to explain why sports are a positive for kids.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Linda. I always appreciate your comments. Have a blessed day, my friend.Deana

  2. Having our kids play sports was the best thing we could have done. Not that each of them were athletics. But they did learn life lessons to last a lifetime. Thanks for your post.

    • Deana Landers -

      I agree, Meegan. Sports teaches so much. I just wish I had been good at them:) Thank you, for always reading, commenting, and sharing my stories.Deana

  3. Thanks for another great read, Deana. I can just imagine your happy surprise when the ball went into the hoop. I would have been over the moon, especially since I have no ball sense whatsoever. The only sport I was any good at was swimming (no balls thank goodness :D ) and can totally relate to your sport/life analogy.

    • Deana Landers -

      I love your comments, Michelle. Thank you for always the kind words.Deana

  4. Maria -

    Your such a descriptive talented writer. I can feel being right there watching the game.

    • Deana Landers -

      Thank you, Maria. I so appreciate your kind words.Deana

  5. Amazing story. I was TERRIBLE at sports, always. I HATED gym. I hated when they would pick two kids and allow them to choose who they wanted on each of their teams. I was always chosen last. I know why, I sucked, but it was embarrassing in front of everyone. Everything you mention is the positive of sports, but I think they should always have coaches pick teams with an equal number of good and bad players rather than have kids pick them. I liked it best when they used to make us count off and then all the odd numbers where on one team and even on the other. I think it's a better way.

    • Deana Landers -

      I totally agree with you, Doreen. It is very difficult when you feel different than the other kids around you. Deana

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