7. SPORTS

Sports

Definition of Sports

This website does not include professional teams as part of sports.  It includes only recreational sports that is used to give pleasure. 

Sport is defined as an activity involving physical exertion during a competitive activity for enjoyment.

a. Soccer Sports

Most of the world refers to soccer as football.  It is the most popular sport in the world claiming about 3.5 billion viewers  each year.   Surprisingly, baseball comes in seventh at 500 million.  It also follows volleyball and ping pong. 

Soccer teaches teamwork, sharing, and social skills as well as physical fitness.   Like most sports, Soccer boosts self-confidence and self-esteem.  

Soccer is well adapted for children.  Here are a few expressions that one hears at many youth soccer games: 

  • Don’t Bunch Up                      This means 4 or more kids trying to kick the ball at the same time.
  • Go to the Goal                         This means run towards the other team’s goal when your team has the ball.
  • Worm Burner                          That is a hard kicked ball that skims the ground.
  • Clear the Ball                          That is when you have the ball near your goal, three kids from the other side are bearing down on you.  You need to kick the ball toward the other end as hard as you can.
  • Grass Stainer                          This is a strong player who is not afraid to take the ball away from you.
  • That Princess wears Cleats   This means to stay away from her.  She’s a good female soccer player.
  • Take a Shot                               This means don’t be afraid to kick the ball into the goal.
  • Pull up your Socks                  This means get back into the game.

[For the Youth]  It sport provides an environment where children learn social skills away from home.  Practices are two or three times per week and games are typically once a week.  This is a good place to learn good work ethic

Near the end of the season there are parties where soccer players are given trophies for their efforts.  These trophies are taken home, and proudly displayed on a bookshelf or counter-top in the bedroom where they are seen on a daily basis.  It reinforces confidence and self-esteem. 

[For the Parents]  Sports are the top reason for social interaction between adults.   Parents can observe how well their children are progressing relative to others.  This reinforces confidence in “I am a good parent.”   

[For Adults]  Adults can benefit from the physical fitness and social contacts in playing soccer during their adult life.  Health benefits to adults who play soccer are supported by randomized controlled trials.  These studies show that adult soccer improves postural balance, lower limb bone health, body composition, and maximum oxygen uptake efficiency. 

[Organizations]  A few organizations relating to soccer include:

There are youth soccer clubs in nearly every city in every state.  Yelp™ is a website that can find a club near you. 

b. Baseball

Baseball is considered America’s Sport. 

It has significant roots in the darkest days of this nation and the civil war.  Both sides played the game as a diversion from the war. 

In the early days, the sport focused on running the bases.  Strategical hitting to put to get people on base was the goal of the coaches.  That all changed with one man — Babe Ruth.  Home runs then became the goal.  And the fans went wild.

Every high school and college in every town jumped into the game.

Many words found their way into the dictionary because of baseball. 

  • Ballpark figure.                         A rough estimate.
  • You threw me a curve.            You did something unexpected.
  • Keep your eye on the ball.       Maintain your focus.
  • Out of the park.                       A clear victory.
  • Softball question.                     An easy question.
  • Rain check                               To re-schedule a meeting.

[For the Youth]  Children learn social skills as well as life lessons.  Learning how to cope with a defeat is a far more important lesson than winning.  People who advocate taking away score keeping fail to understand this valuable lesson.  People who lose search and analyze the reasons while people who win merely celebrate.  Every scientist and every medical researcher has gone through hundreds to thousands of failed tests and theories, before reaching a successful result. 

Practices are several times per week and games are typically once a week.  This is a good place to learn good work ethic.   There is no dispute that there are general health benefits. 

There are many organizations relating to youth baseball:

There are youth baseball clubs in nearly every city.  Yelp™  is a great website to find a club near you. 

c. Skiing and Snowboarding.

Although skiing normally refers to two skis as opposed to snow-boarding, they are grouped together in this section.

Most people who ski have never heard of the word proprioception. This term is the number one health benefit for this sport.  It means the ability to feel the position of different body parts.   For example, the standard drunk driving test of putting your finger on your nose with your eyes closed, is proprioception. 

A second big health benefit is leg fitness.  Up and down thousand times for six hours while having fun beats the Gym. 

Next in line is mood boosting.  No need for drugs.  Just strap on a pair of skis and voilà-good mood.  This is from the beautiful winter scenery.  The pine tree branches sagging under the weight of sparkling white snow is awe-inspiring.  The pure clean air is where the word “breathtaking” came from. 

If you are powder skier then the word “quiet” describes the sensation.   

Flexibility is a huge benefit.  All of the core muscle groups are improved.  A football player wanting to improve his flexibility may want to take a few skiing lessons.  

There are very few skiers who are afraid of heights.  This is why some people believe that skier in German is pronounced “Gerheightverboten.”  Okay, for those who know German, that is not a word. 

The old fashion rope tows have given way to the chair lifts that elevate the passengers hundreds of feet in the sky with their legs dangling freely in the air.  Repeat this process 100 times while your blind date is sitting next to you smothers any hint of fear. 

Wikipedia has a convenient link to a list of Ski Resorts in the nation.

d. Bowling

This game predated the Roman Empire.  In fact it goes back more than 5000 years when miniature pins and balls were found in an Egyptian grave. 

King Henry VIII was an avid bowler and barred commoners from participating. 

Protestant reformer Martin Luther came up with idea of nine pins. 

There were 67 million people bowling in 2018 in the 50 states and over 100 million world-wide.  It is one of the few sports that infants, old people, and everyone in-between can do, enjoy, and compete.

Studies have shown that bowling reduces cholesterol levels and blood pressure.   Who knew?

e. Sailing

There are many benefits that flow from sailing.  The number one reason most sailors say is that because it is quiet.  It gives the hobbyist long periods of time to figure out life’s twists and turns. 

Watching dolphins swimming around the boat and laughing at the slow moving object provides great entertainment.  It provides an opportunity to fish while getting rid of all those tan lines. 

Being a sailor teaches an enormous number of technical skills.  For example, turning the sail boat into the wind at between 10 to 20 degrees will cause it to tilt and increase its speed.   Attacking the wind at 30 to 40 degrees tips the boat at an even stronger angle, and causes the boat to slow down. 

The mind struggles to understand why it does not tip over.   The heavy keel underneath the boat lowers the center of gravity to below the water line.  This causes havoc with what the eyes are telling you.  It is almost impossible to tip over a sailboat.  This only applies to sailboats with a deep keel.  Catamarans, trimarans, and power boats tip over all the time as they do not have a keel.    

Another technical maneuver occurs when you want to turn the boat around to travel downwind.  In order to do this, the main sail must be “let out” i.e. swung away from the boat.  If one tries to turn the boat around with only the rudder, it will continue on the same general course with the tilt flipping on opposite sides. 

Ocean sailing is a great way to realize how insignificant you are in the world.  Sailing, as opposed to power boating, allows you to go anywhere in the world.  All the power you need is in the winds.  But, you may want to purchase some navigation equipment to help you with the world tour.

f. Horseback Riding.

If you really want to experience nature, go horseback riding.  But make sure your stirrups are adjusted to the right length.  Otherwise, be prepared to put soothing gel on your bottom to treat the sores. 

Did you know that?

Do you know the difference between English Riding and Western riding?  If you thought that one straddles the saddle and the other does not, you would be wrong.  The main difference is a major difference in saddles.  English is small and flat, and the Western is large, spreads the weight over a large area, and usually has a horn for doing work.  English rider uses two hands, one on each rein while the Western rider takes both reins in one hand leaving the other hand free to lasso a wandering steer.

A mule is a cross between a female horse and a male donkey.  They are stronger, more sure footed, and tolerate the heat better.  A horse, on the other hand, is faster and can jump over obstacles.

g. Track & Field.

Do you like taking a walk every morning.  If you do, then you can thank Track and Field because it covers everything that involves running, jumping, or throwing. 

But in ancient times, Track and Field was considered the sports of the Gods. 

The ancient Greeks felt they needed to do something so important that it would impress Zeus, the god of all other gods.  They choose Track and Field competition. 

The best of the best would compete at a place called Olympia.  Frenchman Pierre de Coubertin organized the current Olympic Games 1503 years later.

There are international and national organizations that have Track and Field competitions. 

The entity that reports the world record holders in Track and field events is World Athletics 

h. Swimming.

Ten thousand years ago in southern Egypt a caveman painted a human swimming.  These cave paintings showed humans doing the breaststroke, also known as the doggy paddle.  It is likely that people have been swimming much longer than that. 

Swimming is both a life necessity as well as a fun activity.  Studies have shown that swimming has many health benefits.  It is used in many medical rehabilitation procedures.

Most probably did not know that swimming is helpful in treating numerous fears.  Any fear associated with perceived suffocation may be helped by swimming.  This includes fear of tight spaces, fear of drowning (duh), fear of being buried alive, fear of crowded places, fear of flying, etc.   

There are many organizations that promote swimming.

%d bloggers like this: