Learning and growing involve a variety of classrooms

Jennifer Goble
Jennifer Goble

Education is one of my highest values. Knowledge, based on learning, is in the background of my activities and conversations. When my kids were in school, I had elevated expectations for their studying and grades. Classroom learning was far more important to me than sports.

I have learned from my three kids and seven grandchildren that sports matter too. My head is hard, but I get it. As in most of life, balance is a crucial component, and family, teachers, coaches, and friends contribute to the nurture (versus nature) aspect of growing a responsible and
productive adult.

High School basketball has started, and I am excitedly ready to watch my grandson and his team entertain us with their best efforts through the State Tournaments in early March. Being involved in the anticipation and enjoyment of games every week is good for my soul.

I recently attended a three-day tournament where the Sterling High School boys and girls teams and their coaches never gave up the fight to build individual and group skills. Parents and grandparents showed up with water, snacks, exciting energy, and nervous stomachs. The various gymnasiums were full of laughter, cheering, groans of disappointment, and clapping approvals. It was a festival.

It had been years since I watched girls’ basketball and was impressed with their abilities. Girls had no organized sports until the 1970s, and watching them play with drive and determination did my heart well. They gave it their all, demonstrating team dynamics, critical decision-making, performing under pressure, and managing intense emotions of defeat and victory.

Paying attention to all the tournaments’ teams and spectators proved that sports are legitimately educational. They add a relative application to core STEM classroom lessons—Science, Technology, English, and Math.

As beneficial as sports are to character development, the before and after interactions with family and friends also set the stage for strengthening relationships. Athletes discussed various aspects of the games with their families and received pats on the back. They received many kudos for their performances and a safe place to express their frustrations. Before one of the girls’ games, a daughter walked by her dad, hugged him, and softly said, “Love you.” Coming from the locker room after a game, one boy went out of his way to find his grandma, give her a sweet side hug, and said, “Thanks for coming; love you.”

The ticket takers allowed Lucy into the games, and she found tons of admirers. She cleaned up discarded popcorn from the bleachers and enjoyed hugs and attention. She agreed that sports could create a setting for learning and building self-esteem.

Learning and growing involve a variety of classrooms, including pools, courts, courses, fields, and tracks. Whatever you enjoy, think about the development of our future world and include the value of sports in the balancing act of growing leaders.

Until the next time: Live while you live.

Jennifer Goble, Ph.D., LPC, is the author of “My Clients…My Teachers,” and the blogger and writer of Rural Women Stories: www.ruralwomenstories.com.

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