Are you involved in sports? How do you play? Are you part of a team dedicated to bringing out the best in all the players? Do you go it alone and push toward bigger and better achievements? Or are you a fan, cheering on your favourite team and participating in the larger community? However sport fits into our lives, few of us actually stop to consider exactly what we gain from our athletic pastimes. It’s more than you might think.
In 2013 the UN declared April 6 to be the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace with the purpose of fostering the positive cultural influence that sport has on human, social and economic development.
Whether sport is a part of our daily life or we only join in for larger athletic events, sport helps us measure our personal and social progress.
Sports are an outlet for creative energy. They teach us to work as a team. They teach us to be graceful in our failures, to commit to continuous improvement and give us heroes to inspire us. Participating in games and physical activities allows us to align our personal and community goals. It gives us a communal purpose, makes us stronger and more resilient, and helps us build bridges between individuals, communities and ideologies. Through sport we learn to work together for a common purpose and to respect the unique skills and abilities our teammates contribute to our society. We can see in sport an analogy for our society and a template for our social goals. It develops Alberta’s future leaders. It’s a training ground for socially responsible citizenship and stewardship. It’s how we welcome newcomers into the fold and give old timers a way to keep in touch with their roots.
Albertans are no stranger to these loftier aspects of sport. In fact, Alberta’s exceptional quality of life can be directly linked to the range of sport and recreational activities and opportunities we find in our neighborhoods.
In Alberta communities on any given day, people are passing time playing sports. We come out to play, to cheer, to relax, and to demonstrate community pride through games and athletic events. It makes no difference whether it is a large scale event like the Alberta Summer Games or a local, community-based little league game, sport brings people together. This April 6 will surely be no exception. Whatever way you choose to connect with sport, as an athlete or as a spectator, remember that not only are sports fun, they also serve an important function in our lives and in our communities.
So on April 6, how are you going to play?
Check out more information on the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace on Facebook.