Do sports really build character? I think sports can be used positively to build character – discipline, respect and hard work. In reality, given the competitive nature of sports, more often than not, sports actually reveals character!
Let me digress here a little to say that this true in Singapore Schools Sports (less so when I was younger as the Schools had not put so much effort and achievement into winning then). Now, while many elite schools will claim otherwise, winning appears to be more important than character building. It’s a sad state in my opinion – that the local schools have lost the plot.
‘Back in the day’, ‘recreational sports’ existed in schools. You join a sport and then you can have fun with your friends during those periods, once or twice a week – learn to play a new sport. Those are by-gone days. You cannot learn a sport in school any longer. For instance, Tennis. There is no such thing as learning tennis in an ‘elite’ school’. Students learn the sport by themselves (own coaches) and subsequently try to qualify for the school team. The school then puts all their effort into this group of say 12-20 students, training them to compete with the other top schools. The same is true for larger team sports like rugby or soccer. I could go on and on.
Back to Sports & my family. I am glad I didn’t apply too much pressure on Jerry and Daryl to achieve / win. At least today, Jerry could go out and play tennis, golf and football with many of this friends at any time – and he enjoys it. Plus he frequents the gymn and goes for a regular run to mix things up. Daryl was also not pushed into over performing in her tennis (at 1 point, she was training 6 times a week). Today, she still hits the ball pretty well (she still could knock the socks out of some guys), she can enjoy regular runs to keep fit and also find time to do ‘other stuff’ she enjoys like her school council work. Importantly, she spent more time with her friends and doing character building stuff!
Overall, a moderate and more well-rounded approach to sports would build character. Too much of it in the wrong direction may spoil your character instead. Just see the modern athletes today as the are not particularly the best role models. Especially after retirement. There are a few exceptions though – Roger Federer comes to mind. Unfortunately, there is only 1 Fed-ex!
Not so at Neurosurgery Partners. Our mantra of never giving up – NSCFHHATW! is character building in my opinion! Work hard, inspire & motivate, keep your head down, look out for your friends, and endure.
Winning isn’t everything. Well, at least that’s my 2 cents worth. However, running the right race is important!