Wednesday, June 15, 2011

For the Love of the Game - Musings from a Collegiate Athlete – A Must Read for Teen Athletes and Their Parents

By Darren Becket - Pepperdine University - Class of 2011 & Collegiate Baseball Player

Why do we play sports as kids? Do we play them because we know that one day we will be making millions of dollars playing our favorite sport, or do we simply want to be more popular at school so that we are seen as being strong willed and athletic? What ever happened to just having fun?

Growing up around sports that filled my time schedule to the brim I know what it's like to feel pressure from parents, coaches, and peers to perform at a higher level than deemed possible. That's not to say that at certain times I didn’t need that extra push to perform well, but a constant nagging to be the best, and perform like the best, had a particular strain on my livelihood over the years. Playing baseball started to become work at this point. I was constantly having to sacrifice the life I wanted for a game that wasn’t offering me what it used to. To be blunt, I enjoyed baseball because to me it was amazingly fun! Three hours on a collegiate baseball field would pass by as if it were ten minutes. I would come home after a long day of playing multiple games feeling excited. And, up until the day that I felt playing sports became work, I never didn’t want to be on a baseball field. It was my home, my sanctuary. Nothing could phase me out there because I was in control.

I tell my story to others, including myself from time to time, as a reminder to have fun and enjoy whatever sport or activity you are involved in. Playing a sport was never about where it can get you in the future, or what kind of business deal could come out of it. It is, and always will be, a game that you enjoy so much that you would give up anything for. As kids and teens we are still exploring who we are and what we enjoy doing on a day to day basis. So consider this blog a CALL TO ACTION. Find a sport that you enjoy playing and that you find really fun. Most of all, be patient when finding a sport that you enjoy. It’s not about how good you are in a sport that determines if you really enjoy it, but by the way you feel when playing that particular sport.

Having fun is a huge part of growing up and finding out who you are. Playing a sport that brings out this quality in you can brighten your life, including the peers around you. So enjoy a day at the ballpark, or round up some friends for a friendly five on five soccer game. Having fun never felt so good!