We’ve all seen the incredible sports films that have come out of the last few decades. From Friday Night Lights to Remember the Titans, Coach Carter to High School Musical, one common thread follows each one – being an athlete in high school is awesome.
Well, the reality is that it requires a lot of hard work and discipline. For every film where the basketball hero is also the prom king with and an endless list of parties to attend, there’s a real-life counterpart who’s up at 4 am for early morning practices and up late studying for their big exams after the game. It’s not always so glamorous, it often pushes you out of your comfort zone, and not everyone gets as excited about your skills on the field as fiction would lead us to believe.
But these are the moments that help define a person. For every early morning wake up call, every skinned knee, every defeat in the fourth quarter or the landslide 10th inning, there’s a lesson to be learned. These are how athletes are shaped and whether or not you win most of the games or even play the sport again after graduation, every moment spent in preparation of your sport will add up to your future character.
You learn to manage time
Life is a constant lesson in managing time and playing a sport will make you a master of balancing your schedule. You’ll have to figure out how to arrange your schedule to keep up with your training. You might have daily practices and sometimes multiple games in a week to prepare for. You have to find a way to balance this while somehow keeping up with the rest of your life.
Additionally, you’ll learn the value of how quickly time can fly by. That eight-minute quarter that felt like ages because of the time-outs suddenly dwindled down to two and now you’re down by five points. It’s amazing how quickly that happens, even more amazing when you only have 30 seconds on the clock and somehow manage to even out that score, sending the game into overtime. It can all become quite tricky, but it’s a great lesson for life.
You learn about consequences
By the time you’re in your 30s, you realize that just about everything you do in life is a decision that will have an effect on something else in your life. Wake up late for work and you might miss your bus. Choose to skip that event to binge watch your favorite show on Netflix? Well, you might miss out on your friend’s big announcement.
But the great thing about playing sports in high school is that you get this lesson early on. If you miss a practice or two during the week, you’re going to pay for it on the court when you realize you needed a few more refreshers on that drill. Show up late for practice? Coach will have you running extra laps.
You learn how to collaborate
Collaboration has been a huge part of man’s survival and evolution. Working together as a team will help you move forward with your goals. In the case of playing a sport, you’re working together to win a game and the best way to do this is by recognizing the unique skills and talents each team member brings to the table. You learn how to handle that responsibility, supporting where you need to and defending your partners on the field.
You work hard
Playing the latest FIFA game might be a great way to unwind, and Lebron James or Tom Brady might make the game look easy. But don’t forget that playing a sport is hard work. The stress you put your body under, the hours of falling down, missing the shot, or not being fast enough will be an adjustment to aspects of life that might come easy.
But you’ll get back up again. Eventually, you’ll start to hear more of that lovely swish sound as the ball goes into the hoop. And one day, you just might be the fastest person on the field. Your hard work each day will make you stronger and better than you could have ever imagined before – whether in the high school game or the life you choose beyond it.
Whether in the classroom or on the court, discover a space where you can succeed during high school and prepare for your future.