by Ryan Krzykowski

We human beings have a few basic needs: food, water, shelter, etc. on the physical side.  Emotionally, we have a few needs as well and among these, the need to be known is right near the top of the list.  

It is built into who we are.  We need to have people in our lives who really and truly know us.  And the tremendous gift of sport can be a tool to facilitate that need being met.

John O’Sullivan of Changing the Game Project has done it again, recently writing a blog post that captures this idea beautifully.  From John’s post:

We are led to believe that sport is all about the pursuit of glory, but the more I think about it, the longer I coach, and the more I watch my own kids play, the more I am convinced that this notion is wrong. The world’s most famous athletes are revered for winning, but ask them what they remember, and it’s rarely about the podium. They talk about connection.

Sport is about connection.

It is the connection between teammates working together to achieve a common goal, forged on the practice field, on the bus, at team meals, and even in the hotel pool.

It is the connection between athletes and their coaches who respect and encourage them, and coach the person, not the sport.

It is the connection between sports clubs, schools and parents, working together to ensure that sport is an extension of the things we value, not the antithesis.

And, most importantly, it is the connection between a dad and his son forged over 50 years of tossing a baseball.

It is the connection between a father and daughter, built night after night in a quiet driveway in upstate New York, playing HORSE until it is too dark to see.

It is the connection available to all of us, whether it be with our own kids or those we are entrusted to coach, if we just put aside our devices, our expectations, and our future hopes and dreams for those kids, and simply be present.

I would encourage everyone to read the entire post here; it is a winner.   As we head into a new school year and set of sports seasons, give some thought to how we can more intentionally and effectively use these sports as a tool to foster connections among people — people with a need to connect.