Vin Diesel said in The Fast and the Furious, "I live my life a quarter mile at a time... nothing else matters." He was talking about car racing when he said it, but this is the mindset many athletes take towards their sport. Every day they're not playing is a day wasted.
There are many reasons why sports are so valuable, but one of the biggest reasons is that it connects people. When you go onto a basketball court in New York City, deep bonds can be formed between a billionaire, a homeless person and an art teacher, all by just being on the same team. Without sports, these people most likely would have never met.
The bonds from sports are so deep that they never go away. I think the reason for this is that you're basically going into battle with someone, and you can learn a lot about somebody from how they act in a game. If they get elbowed but just shake it off, you'll have much more respect for them. But if they complain and blame you for everything, you can learn a lot about their character.
Sport brings people together because it's so pure. There is no ulterior motive in a competition. It's just two sides of competitors who have prepared and trained who now want to win the game. These athletes don't want your money or anything else from you, they just want to compete at their highest level. Starting at a young age, this purity continues throughout their life. The bonds are real, the work ethic is real, and it pushes athletes out of their comfort zone.
These aspects are all so important for when a kid gets older. If they go through tough times later in life, they may resort to getting back onto the court or field to clear their mind. Out of everything in their life, the sport may have been the purest thing they ever had. The lessons like teamwork, discipline and mental fortitude don't go away, they are just transferred to another profession.
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