The importance of sports

Graphic by Sarah Morassutti

From the era of the ancient Greeks wrestling in the coliseums of Athens to modern competitions, sports have remained a cardinal element of human civilization, bringing people together all over the world. Throughout the early ages, sports have been a form of reconnection, discipline, team building and a way to unite and build similarity among each other. 

Sports have quite the impact on one’s life; physical health, mental health, psychosocial benefits and valuable life skills just to name a few. According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, sports have a positive effect on individual health as regularly engaging in physical activities boosts blood flow to the brain and benefits the heart. This lowers the risks of cardiovascular diseases, diabetes and even some cancers. Practicing sports regularly also benefits one’s muscle strength and movement, providing stability to the overall body structure. 

Aryaman Guleria, a first-year accounting and financial management student, said swimming helps him relax. 

“By swimming, I can keep my body active and in a healthy shape especially after sitting  all day and working,” Guleria said. 

For a vast majority of students, the pandemic has curtailed many physical activities and has hindered the balance of life. Anoja Kanagaruban, another first-year accounting and financial management student, said she realized the detrimental effects of students sitting and working all day with no physical activity. 

“Exercising after sitting all day with so much work brings a good balance in life,” Kanagaruban said. 

Sports have also been a primary source of inspiration for many individuals as they’re able  to apply the qualities and ethics that sports teach them to their everyday life — from applying the discipline of teamwork in playing  basketball to embodying a system of moral values in martial arts. 

Hunzala Shahid, a first-year physics student, said there was a connection between sports and his academic life.

“Sports have always been a part of my life, it’s something that resonates with me as a  student who’s involved in group projects,” Shahid said. 

For him, it helps him collect his thoughts and bring out the best version of him in front of  his peers. “It helps me articulate my ideas and enables me to present them efficiently.” 

Professional athletes are important figures in the sports industry as they motivate many young adults through the attributes that they embody. For others, professional athletes are role models that redefine society and its norms through the work they do. 

Emaan Sikander, a first-year accounting and financial management student, said she feels empowered by women in sports. 

“For me, Serena Williams is particularly inspiring because she’s very strong and has  redefined the image of women in sports,” Sikander said. 

An important term with relevance to sports is the importance of sportsmanship.  According to Stanford’s Children’s Health, sportsmanship refers to the fair, equal and generous treatment of others in a game or athletic event. Learning from all outcomes is the key essential lesson — whether losing a game or winning one everyone needs to be respectful.

Where many take the ideology of losing quite lightly, for some it’s something difficult to accept. This is where the concept of sportsmanship is integral; knowing the real reason why one  indulges in sports and competition, is above the fact that one loses and the other wins. 

“The beauty of sportsmanship is that it reminds players that above all, we play the game  because we enjoy the game. Regardless of the outcome, it’s important to remember our love for  the sport,” Sikander said. 

Parleen Bhatia, a first-year accounting and financial management student, said good sportsmanship is when people who are playing or watching a sport treat each other with respect. 

“Building the spirit and a positive environment for growth is what defines good  sportsmanship,” Bhatia said. 

According to Sport Law Canada, good sportsmanship is also understanding the cultural and socioeconomic factors behind every individual. It is about understanding the term cultural competence where one acknowledges the values and beliefs of others. Sports are a medium that brings people and cultures together, whether it’s rooting for the same team or bonding over shared interests.

For Sikander, the way sports unite people of all kinds together is a very special feeling. “As we cheer, laugh, eat, and grip the edge of our seats together, we’re amplifying our shared love for the game together,” she said.