By ALEX LOCEY
Ursuline High School, 16,  junior

For children to grow into healthy, strong, capable human beings, many things are necessary. One of those is the importance of sports. It is an essential element in encouraging proper childhood development. There are many reasons why sports should be included in every childhood.
One of these reasons is that children learn valuable lessons. Not only do children learn from their coaches, as they are active mentors, but from life experiences within the realm of sports. Youths learn how to become affiliated with a group of people and to be able to depend on those people to achieve a goal. These children may not know the significance of this, but it is a valuable life lesson — to know how to work well with other people. Another lesson children learn is that hard work pays off. They see that if they work hard and work as a team, they can be successful. This lesson is fundamental in life. Learning to be driven at such a young age can tremendously help make them more successful when they are older. Children also learn to be leaders, and strong leaders are crucial to every society.
Another thing that children gain from sports is a healthy mind and body because physical activity promotes both physical and mental strength. When children are in shape, they feel better and are more likely to live longer. Children who are active are more likely to be strong and secure both physically and mentally. Children in sports are less likely to engage in unhealthy lifestyles and to stay away from things that are detrimental to their health because they are focused on sports and keeping their body healthy will help them achieve their goals. In addition, if more children are in shape, there is less obesity, less depression and fewer other problems associated with poor self-image in children. Being healthy is a key factor in living a long life.
Sports also encourage children to interact with other children and to learn valuable social skills. Children need to learn to interact well with others, as it is an important skill needed in everyday life. Teamwork is necessary but sometimes difficult. Working well with people is obviously important because, after all, the world is full of people and every day is a new chance to interact with those people. Sports can help children deal with changing circumstances and ease transitions in life such as moving upward to a new school. It is clear that growing older and moving to a new school is tough but meeting new people with common interests makes the process a whole lot easier.
Sports also teach children determination and to be competitive. Persevering in sports can prepare children for times in their lives when they need to be strong and push through pain. Being competitive and being driven is something that will carry them through the rest of their lives. A child who is active and loves to compete may be the child who will try harder to get better grades. Competition and perseverance are good for young children and will become valuable in later life. Having a competitive spirit will lead the child to always strive to be their best.
In summary, sports encourage children to work hard, to work well with others, for the good of all, and to be the best they can be. It teaches lessons that are essential to being healthy, not only physically but mentally and socially as well. It fosters the skills such as determination, perseverance and a sense of solidarity that is necessary for strong leadership. In these turbulent times, strong leadership is becoming increasingly important, and the skills learned from being part of a sport can be the most important skills a leader possesses.