Silly Ball Games or Character-Building Activities?

Switzerland winning the Davis Cup and its obvious significance for the great Roger Federer got me thinking, yet again, about different perspectives on sport.

Victorious Swiss Davis Cup Team. Photo: AFP
Victorious Swiss Davis Cup Team.
Photo: AFP

For some, like a late aunt of mine, sports like tennis, golf, soccer, hurling, rugby, snooker … are perceived as ‘silly ball games’ and we all know Mark Twain’s quote:

Golf is a good walk spoiled.

Sport, for me, is one of life’s greatest pleasures and I also believe that participation in it can be one of the greatest teachers about life.

Among the lessons I’m talking about here are:

1. Hard work is essential for success, even for those with lots of natural talent.

2. Life is about winning and losing and today’s loser can be tomorrow’s winner.

3. Experience is fundamental and we have to be prepared to take what may feel are very hard knocks to gain this.

4. It’s crucially important to be prepared to change a losing game.

5. Life is about teamwork.

6. The ponds of life vary in size and so do the fish.

7. Loss or success in a particular sphere do not define the ‘whole person.’

8. Major societal divides can be healed through universal passions.

9. Physical fitness enhances mental agility

10. Resting is every bit as important as hard work in mazimizing potential.

What are YOUR views on sport? What, if any lessons, has it taught you?