The most notable benefit of participating in school sports is the physical aspect. As part of the team, you’ll being working out at practices or games at least five days a week, and maybe conditioning on the weekends. That doesn't even include competitions, fundraising, events, spirit-building activities, camp...the list keeps on going. But isn’t there more? Behind the smiles, outside of practices and beyond the pep rallies, what does it really mean to be an athlete for your school?
Making friends. One of the best parts about being on a sports teamin school is making lifelong friends. Athletes are responsible for inspiring school spirit, which often has a social aspect. In addition to getting the chance to bond with your team, you will also have the chance to meet other students and members of your community. And with making friends comes the wonderful additional aspect - making memories. You'll take these memories with you throughout your life.
Meeting a Mentor. Whether it is your coach or an older teammate, many athletes will find themselves looking up to someone. This person can serve as a mentor not only for athletic issues, but also for life. This mentor can help you make some of the tough decisions that you may face during your time as a young athlete. A lot of stress can be reduced when you have a mentor to lean on in times of need. They've gone through what you're going through now and can offer sage advice.
Being a Mentor. On the flip side of that, you will also find yourself acting as a mentor to younger, aspiring athletes in your community and at your school.
Scholarship Money for College. Most athletes are required to maintain a minimum GPA. Combine athletic talent and good grades and you may find yourself with a full ride scholarship to college. Many universities and colleges offer a variety of scholarships, no matter what sport you play!
Life Skills. You might be overlooking the fact that, as a student and athlete, you are learning valuable life skills every time you practice, compete and participate in fundraising activities. The teamwork, self discipline, time management and responsibility skills that you are learning and using every day as an athlete will be an asset when you are ready to go into the job field, have a family or solve a general conflict.
Health and Happiness. So we already know that being an athlete means you are more likely to be physically fit, but what about emotional health? Believe it or not, all that activity you are doing is actually making you healthier and happier! The physical demands of being an athlete help your body release endorphins and antibodies, helping you fight off sickness and depression and reduce stress.