Sports—Camaraderie, Character Building and, oh yeah, Exercise

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If you’re a sports fan, subscribe to your local paper or regularly watch a morning news show like “Today” or “Mike & Mike”, there’s very little chance you haven’t heard that World Cup Soccer is in full swing. I fall into all three of those categories—especially the first one.

In my family, watching or playing sports is as natural as breathing. Yeah, it’s a way to get some exercise, but it’s also great for family bonding and teaching important life lessons.

My daughters have learned about pride in doing your best; humility when winning; perseverance when losing; leadership and teamwork for the whole rather than the individual.

Some of our best family memories have taken place on a court, a field, or in the stands together. Some of our most disappointing and some of our funniest moments have been the same.

Sure, participating in a sport is great for your body—strength, conditioning, and flexibility. But it’s also vital for character building. And it’s definitely a fabulous way to bring my family together.

Whether it’s a walk around the neighborhood with our dog,

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training for a half marathon with my sister

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or two of my daughters

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participating in a Ladies Football Clinic with my mom

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or organizing a 3-mile family fun run and tennis tournament during a Christmas family reunion in Florida

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sports has always played an important unifying role in our lives.

Right now we’re in the throes of World Cup Fever, cheering for the USA!

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If you’re a soccer fan you probably already know this, if you’re not don’t be surprised when I tell you that thus far in the Cup as a USA fan we’ve experienced pride in our boys and our country, humility in finally beating Ghana, perseverance in losing the lead and ending our game with Portugal in a tie, and leadership and teamwork as we gear up to take on the powerful German team on Thursday.

These are all vital character traits we can all stand to improve. In my family, we simply like to dress up a little crazy now and then while we work our character together! ☺

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GO USA!

USMNT 1

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Comments (14)

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    prisakiss

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    Are you watching the World Cup matches? Do you play a sport with your family? What’s your favorite team to cheer for? What’s a life lesson you learned from sports?
    Enquiring minds wanna know! 😀

    Reply

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    Jean Willett

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    Hi Pris,
    I’m not watching the World Cup, but I am trying to keep up with who is doing what and where. 🙂 Obviously, I’d cheer and support Team USA. I’m an avid Olympic team viewer. Was in competitive gymnastics before it became super air 🙂 Sports is good for team building and support. Egos have to bend a little so that the team wins and not just one or two players…no matter the sport.
    Unfortunately, our experience with team baseball and soccer with our boys was not a great experience as teens. So much so, they walked away from sports they loved. As young boys, we lived in one state that encouraged team play and excellence no matter what position. They loved it. We moved to another state and the experience was …okay…awful. Parents were obnoxious, referrees were not impartial and fought with parents and coaches. One baseball game,the boys sat on the bases as the adults fought it out…. what did that teach? We had always encouraged them to be committed to their team and team members, but with the stress of mismanaged sports, we supported their decision to walk away and encouraged another form of exercise and enjoyment. Golf 🙂

    Reply

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      prisakiss

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      Jean, it’s always sad when the competitive edge become so sharp it cuts into teamwork, humility and common sense! Golf is a great family sport– lots of time to chat as you walk the course or ride in the golf cart together. I’m not much of a golfer other than putt-putt golf, but I’m a great cart driver, cheerleader and beer cooler watcher! 🙂

      In our family, tennis has been sport we all play together. Great exercise and loads of fun. 🙂

      Reply

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    Stephanie Killian

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    This article was awesome! The FIFA World Cup has allowed so many to people to unify while having fun and spending time together ☺️ Great pictures as well!!

    Reply

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      prisakiss

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      Hey Steph, thanks for stopping by! I’m sure the boys are driving you crazy with soccer and FIFA news in your house. 🙂

      Can’t wait for the next Family Fun Run and Tennis Challenge with everyone! Hugs!!

      Reply

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    shanagalen

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    I don’t like sports very much, and I don’t like to watch them on TV. Live is okay, if the game stays around 2 hours. After that, come on! I don’t mind exercise, but I kind of prefer things like running that don’t require a group or team.

    Reply

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      prisakiss

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      Shana, I’m not much of a group runner either. For me, running is good thinking time. Even if I’m listening to music while I’m pounding the pavement, my thoughts are still on different things– writing, my To Do list, a family concern, what I need to pack for RWA National (grin), or whatever else comes to mind. 🙂

      Reply

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    Natalie J. Damschroder

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    When I was a kid, people convinced me that I sucked so badly at any kind of physical activity that I’d humiliate myself and them if I tried. You know, picked last in gym, that kind of thing.

    I played co-ed soccer in junior high (9th grade) and played forward. Even though I never scored, I learned how to be fierce, and my memories of that are only good. In high school, at my mother’s 20-year high school reunion, we were playing softball. Everyone did the “move in, move in” thing and I nailed the ball into a dead zone just past the infield. If I’d been less of a nice kid, I’d have flipped them all off from first base. 🙂

    But I admit, those early years scarred me in several ways. And my current physical condition sucks. So my All-Conferernce Linebacker husband took the lead with the kids, who played and loved soccer until the end of middle school. They didn’t love it enough to endure the bad side of it in high school, but they did get all those lessons from it that you talked about. Number Two is a rabid sports fan (football, soccer, tennis, baseball) while the rest of us stick to football and soccer. 🙂

    Reply

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      prisakiss

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      Natalie, I think anything that allows you to spend active family time together is great! I agree, there can be some downsides to organized sports, but it’s great to hear you guys share a love of football and soccer– both fun team sports that can provide hours of fun on a front lawn. 🙂

      Reply

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    Heather Ashby

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    Great post, Pris! I love how your family gathers for sporting events – both live and on tv. I can certainly say that sports changed my life 🙂 I played field hockey goalie for 10 years from Middle School through college. Playing on the varsity team as a freshman in high school was scary – especially with my Senior sister playing fullback in front of me, giving me that, “You better not let another goal in, Heather” look. Every time the opponents brought the ball over the center line toward me my brain fast forwarded to, “It’s okay. If they score, we’re still one ahead” or “We still have time to catch up.” After all, I was a defensive player and they were going shoot against me – and very likely score. BUT summer before senior year I had a British coach at hockey camp who taught me to play goalie OFFENSIVELY! She taught me to GO OUT AND TAKE THE BALL AWAY FROM THE OPPONENT’S OFFENSE! I allowed one goal that entire season and we finished undefeated.

    Fast forward to walking to my first test in college, thinking, “It’s okay, if I fail this test, there’s plenty of time to get my grades up.” And then that British coach came to mind and I realized I had been treating life defensively – including my school work. Academically at the bottom of my prep school class in high school, I graduated college with high honors. And I have used that assertiveness in my life these past 40+ years. That coach taught me that I had a choice. I could sit idly by and let life try to score on me or i could go out there and meet it head on, KNOWING that I had the power inside me to win.

    Thanks for letting me share. I hadn’t thought about this story in a long time – but I have been living it. Being optimistic and living in the positive has become so ingrained in me, I had forgotten all about that 14 year old defensive goalie who needed a lesson on goal tending – and life – from a wise coach.

    Who changed my life.

    Write on, Pris!!!

    Reply

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      prisakiss

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      Heather, what an amazing, life changing lesson! You are one of the most positively assertive people I know– and honestly, you’re a great motivator and mentor!

      I’m glad my post got you thinking back on a person who had such a positive affect on your life. It’s important for us to take the time to recall those who have helped us so that we can then in turn remember to go out and help others– just like I see you do on a regular basis!

      I have a new mantra for the week: Approach life on the OFFENSIVE!

      Thanks for sharing your story! And especially thanks for all the cheerleading and occasional butt-kicking you’ve given me. 🙂

      Reply

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      Natalie J. Damschroder

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      I LOVE this story! I’m sharing it with my kids, who both played defense in soccer, so they’ll totally get the symbolism. 🙂

      Reply

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        Heather Ashby

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        COOL!!!

        Reply

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    Katie Mehnert

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    You’ve just reminded me I need to get back to marathon running. Have been seriously lazy since I have been on this sabbatical.

    Reply

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