What can Sports do for you when your life gets turned upside down
Recently I got the chance to connect with some fans of what we’re doing here at isplack and thought what I had heard/learned reinforced a lot of what we all love about sports and I wanted to share it with you.
The story is fairly typical. Mom and/or dad get relocated or finds a new job that requires them to move out of state. Naturally the family happily (or begrudgingly) follows along and goes through the very real pains of relocation. And every family is different, but by and large, the moves made are typically done with the family’s best interests at heart. Otherwise, who would take that on right? (So go easy on yourselves or your parent’s kids, because it’s not easy on anyone that’s for sure.)
But it got me thinking about life in transition. Our lives are full these days. Certainly they’re full of routines. And if you’re an athlete, your life is even MORE about routines right? But consider what it would be like to have your entire world upended, taken from you, and replaced with an entirely new life and set of routines. New house, new yard, new neighbors, new grocery store, new ball fields, new school, new friends, new teammates. We all know someone who’s done it right? But it got me thinking about the real benefits sports can have in such emotional turmoil. And to that extent, what types of benefits it can have in other situations – for example a death in the family, a high school graduation, or the now relevant changes that occur with kids going away to college.
What I heard and learned recently was that the very real trauma caused by relocation was eased in many ways for the children because of their participation in sports. And that’s why I’m feeling good today about what we’re trying to do here at isplack.
The family moved across the U.S., enrolled their kids in new schools, and tried out and joined new sports teams. And what I read between the lines was that sports gave their kids a comfortable, familiar routine that provided that much needed solid foundation from which to grow from. In addition, it gave the new kids a common dialog with their new teammates. Rules, plays, moves, achievements, goals – they’re the same no matter where you play. Those are universal. And while much of our kids’ lives are about finding ways of blending in, not sticking out; face it - being the new kid basically eliminates all hopes of achieving that comfortable anonymity. But give those same new kids an opportunity to get some much needed exercise, fresh air, and blend in in a team sports environment? It aligns virtual strangers towards a common goal, breaking down the real or perceived barriers that often keep us from interacting with one another.
As adults we see it every day. We can see the same people around town, same coffee shop, our office environment, etc. but so often we pass by struggling to find the right topic of conversation, or small talk. Sports, even spectating on the sidelines of our kids events breaks down many of those same barriers. It gives PARENTS the same common dialog that it does the kids. How nice to be welcomed to a team, by the parents of your kid’s teammates. I’d bet some of the first and best friends I’ve met over the years since moving have come by way of my children participating in sporting events. And that’s just awesome.
So if you’re close to one of those events – going away to college, facing a divorce, death in the family, job relocation, new school, etc. allow me to be another person to encourage you and yours to search out an opportunity to play sports. I know from personal experience the day I landed at Indiana University to walk on to their Men’s Swimming program was the day I had 22 new friends across all years of school, and a chance to fit in. Inter-mural, NCAA, youth sanctioned, recreational – it won’t matter. And I know colored eye black won’t solve the biggest of problems we’re facing in society, and that there are plenty of things moving in the wrong direction when it comes to youth sports. But if bringing a couple of sticks of team colored eye black to a football, baseball, softball or lacrosse game helps break down those real or perceived barriers, and allows those participating to be welcomed as a member of the team, well then I for one can say ‘fantastic’!
Get Your Colors On
Peter Zana, VP Sales