Even from a young age, the sports children play and the teams they join can shape them into the adults that they will become. Here, three TrueSport Ambassadors are sharing how sport has changed their lives, not just physically, but emotionally and mentally. If you’re a parent or coach of a young athlete, hopefully the stories from these Ambassadors helps deepen your understanding of how important sport can be to young people.
Sport teaches athletes to deal with adversity
“Sport has shaped my life in multiple ways, but one of the most prominent ways has been through the various trials I’ve faced in sport,” says 18-year-old Olympic weightlifter Abby Raymond. “Every hurdle has given me an opportunity to grow and learn from my mistakes. Each setback has made me stronger by providing the opportunity to persevere, which in turn, has shaped my character.”
Even though the tough situations are uncomfortable, they also teach athletes how to be successful in sport and life. “I’ve learned everything I know today about sports from great coaches I've had in my life. And I've learned what not to do because of some bad coaches I've had,” says wheelchair curling Paralympian Steve Emt. “As long as you can learn from the good and leave the bad with the bad, you’ll be successful.”
Sport creates community
“Sport has changed my life for the better by providing an amazing community of other athletes, leaders, and coaches,” says Raymond. For many young people, it’s been difficult to feel like they’re part of a community in the past year as schools switched to online learning and children weren’t allowed to spend time together due to COVID-19. However, many student athletes were able to stay connected to teams and coaches thanks to virtual practices, and this showed just how important sport can be when it comes to creating strong community ties.
“Being a disabled athlete, I've come across some incredible athletes during my seven-year career," adds Emt. "We all have different stories and have shown incredible resolve in overcoming serious life-threatening adversities. I love being around my teammates because they pick me up when I need it and inspire me to be the best.”