Have you ever heard someone say, “I’m not really a ‘sporty’ person”? I have, and I wrote about it a few weeks back. But then it made me wonder… Not into playing sports? Not into watching sports? If you’re not into playing sports, what kind of sports have you tried? How do you define sport?
Sport as a noun is defined as “an activity involving physical exertion and skill in which an individual or team competes against another or others for entertainment.” Many people, when they think of sport, picture the high profile sports like hockey and baseball, that get coverage on the major networks, but sport can mean so much more than that. According to the definition, there are 2 main categories, team sports and individual sports. But within those categories, there are many options: There are contact sports/non-contact sports, combative sports, ball and stick, ball and net, aquatic, shooting, snow, ice, cycling and more. In all there are 442 internationally recognized sports (and many that aren’t internationally recognized, but just as great).
Sometimes parents struggle to find the balance when deciding how many extra-curricular activities their kids should participate in. Some kids want to try everything, and some aren’t interested in sports at all. Both can be a challenge for parents, particularly the latter if the parents themselves consider themselves ‘sporty’.
52 in 52 participant Kara tell us, “Sport has always been a part of my life and my husband's life. We love being active and involved. When our kids came along we wanted them to be active and have fun through sport with other kids. We wanted them to learn the importance of teamwork, being physically active, being coachable, and building relationships in our community. Our firstborn was excited and ready to try any sport. We were very excited for her! Our second child was not willing and often put up a fight. We struggled with this for many years and at times considered giving up trying to encourage him to participate. It was often tiring and frustrating. One day he was sitting on his bed looking through his photo album and smiling at the pictures from all of these various sports over the years. I said to him, ‘Aren't you glad we encouraged you to do all of those sports?’ He looked at me and smiled. He said, ‘Yah. Thanks, Mom.’ I smiled back and as I walked away with tears in my eyes, I was so thankful that we never gave up.”
Sometimes, the goal of participation in sport, either as an adult or as a child, is not to find a sport to dedicate yourself to, compete in, and find great success in. The goal may be to become a physically literate individual, which means you have the confidence and the competence to try new things, and participate in opportunities that come along. Imagine being the 13-year-old whose friends want to go public skating, but makes an excuse because he/she never learned to skate, or the mom who sits on the sidelines at the parent-kid baseball game, because she doesn’t want to look silly when it’s her turn to bat. How about when the coworkers suggest a little 3 on 3 after work to blow off some steam or an impromptu soccer game starts up at a family reunion? You don’t need to be a star at that sport, but some basic dribbling and shooting experience will go a long way to making you feel confident to join in.
If you have thought of yourself as “not a sporty person”, and would like to give new sports a try so see if you can find the one for you, Lethbridge 2017: Get Active Through Sport might be just what you need. It’s an initiative from the Lethbridge Sport Council, where anyone can sign up to try 52 sports in 52 weeks at the sport sessions we organize. If you are looking for something a little less formal, you could join the #YQLChallenge to try 150 things to do in Lethbridge. You can also find and attend sport events you’ve never seen before and CHEER ON by checking our sport event calendar, or be part of our Volunteer Hour Tracker to lend a hand to a sport event or organization! We invite you to register online - recruit friends, involve your family, teammates or co-workers - and engage on social media using #Lethbridge2017. Full details can be found at www.lethbridge2017.ca (sorry, website no longer available)
- Tanya Whipple
Originally published in the Lethbridge Herald on March 24th, 2017