Olympics and the good old days

Everyone is talking about the Olympics. At least it seems like everyone is. Many posts on various social media are all about Olympic athletes and different sports.

I have to admit, I’m not following the Olympics this time around and I didn’t follow them much in years before. But I must say that even the hype surrounding the festivities have made me yearn for the good old days.

Like many people, I played sports when I was younger. My main pastimes were softball, basketball and soccer. When I could find time, I also liked to play volleyball and even attempted to play tennis (rather badly I might add). It was FUN. I made lots of friends, got lots of exercise, learned lessons about working in a team and embraced the ecstacy of victory and the huge disappointment of defeat. One of the greatest lessons that a young person can learn is that becoming adept at dealing with winning and losing in a healthy manner.

Nowadays many young people spend all of their time playing video games, texting and playing on the computer – the fact that I’m on a computer is not lost on me. I’m not suggesting that these are necessarily bad things as technology has driven the changes that we see in our world today, and in many ways that same technology runs our world. Without intimate knowledge of it many of us, including our future leaders, would be lost. What is missing is the piece that fills the gap where young people can learn those valuable lessons that we learned when we were younger.

These are thoughts that often plague my mind. Every time there is news of a shooting, such as the recent one in Aurora, Colorado, I have to wonder where we went wrong in teaching our kids how to deal with others in good times and bad. Much emphasis is put on bullying today. Don’t get me wrong. I absolutely feel that bullying is wrong – but I was also bullied as a child and somehow made it through as did many of my contemporaries.

What does this have to do with sports? In all of the lessons that I learned, subtle messages included things don’t always go the way I want and when I have an adversary, what is I can do to improve my performance to best them. Are these still lessons that our young people learn in a world where if you’re losing the game you can just go to the last save spot and start over?

I try to remind myself of these things with my daughter. Instead of letting her watch television and play video games all of the time, I encourage her to go outside and play, be involved in sports and just as important (if not MORE important) READ A BOOK.

If you don’t like what you see in the world, the first step is changing yourself and what happens in your home – and always be willing to help others do the same – so our kids can look back on the old days and call them good, too.

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