It’s no secret that I think sports are powerful. As a player, a coach, and parent I witness every day how being an athlete defines who you are and quite simply, creates the lens through which you view the world.
I love to watch my own kids play sports – and they play a lot of them! The issues they face on and off the field generate countless conversations about formative character issues, whether it be about being ready for practice, playing time, performance, or respecting their coaches. This is gold for any parent – and we can take it another big leap forward.
When I write books, articles, or give talks about the benefits of sports, I always find myself coming back to the values and reasons why sports are a vital part of our society. The defining character traits such as teamwork, respect, compassion, perseverance and more are not just abstract lessons that kids will use in their future adult lives.
These are good values that can and are shaping the way young athletes view the world right now. We should see and share their view.
This is why I created the Play It Forward Project social media campaign. I believe that athletes have a unique opportunity to share their strengths and in doing so, challenge themselves and others to bring character-building lessons from the sports field into their communities. This is especially important for young girls, who can be empowered by sports during adolescence, when they often find their self-confidence wavering.
I also think the time is right. Small acts can have big impacts – and there is no better time to allow kids to feel powerful, not powerless.
Plus, isn’t it time that social media was used for social good?
There are so many small ways that we can transform these core values of sportsmanship into acts of kindness, and I can’t wait to see what you come up with!