Before the start of my Army deployment, I competed in competitive sports weekly.
But I stopped for nearly a year.
I used to be part of running groups, a batting practice group, and a recreation league basketball team. Competition makes exercise fun and gives us something to look forward to.
Going overseas put all of those to a pause. All I stuck to was running. Running is great, and all, but the only person I was competing with was myself. I noticed my mental health declined a bit, and I lacked motivation.
Only until recently, I went out to play volleyball with people from my unit as well as an EOD (Explosive ordnance disposal) unit. Everyone was super laid back, music was bumping, and I had a really great time.
I felt alive again.
If I were to do deployment all over again, I’d put together a crew that would participate in competitive sports at least once a week.
If you’re reading this, it’s probably been a while since you played sports competitively (because of the Rona).
There are several associations between motivation and health in sports. The results are based solely on experience and no official research.
1. Competing in Sports Gives you 10x More Motivation in Life
Thanks to my buddy James, I got out of my comfort zone and played with a bunch of random strangers.
By the end of the night, we all became family.
Something about playing sports allows you to show other people how much heart you have. I was laying out to make plays, getting dirty and scratched up, and I earned respect at the same time.
People noticed that I was a person who’d lay my life for you and give you everything I possibly had in the tank to succeed.
By playing sports, you can prove to yourself that you’re more intrinsically motivated than you knew.
Exercise is phenomenal for the body, but by turning a competitive sport into your form of exercise is on another level.
Takeaway: Get some friends together and have some friendly competition.
2. Your Self-Worth Will Increase
By playing competitive sports, you may surprise yourself.
You have the opportunity to discover strength, such as leadership, heart, grit, and passion.
On the other hand, you’ll be able to uncover weaknesses such as pessimism, laziness, or fear.
When you’re in the limelight and playing a competitive sport, your body works succinctly with your mind.
If a volleyball game is going well and you’re positive with your teammates, odds are you’ll come out of the game victorious.
During a time such as the pandemic we’re going through, our self-worth may have dropped. We may feel as though we have fewer strengths than weaknesses.
Playing just one sports game will turn into two or three because losing doesn’t feel right. Working towards a victory will show you that you’re able to overcome obstacles.
Sports are empowering.
Takeaway: Play until you win. Winning will prove you can overcome obstacles.
3. Long-Term and Subconscious Memories Will Last Forever
Whenever you overcome an obstacle, you subconsciously store the memory into your long-term memory.
If you feel like life is punching you in the mouth and you’re always getting knocked down, the memories of playing sports will pick your mood back up.
It’s not always going to be a great day. Competitive sports allows us to learn from our mistakes and reinforce our successes.
Whether or not I made a mistake in the volleyball games, I had a great time. Everyone has competitiveness deep down. The fun part about playing sports is that it’s not too serious.
Losing a game won’t make or break us in life. There are free lessons that come with playing. Our comfort zone widens, and our communication with others enhances.
Takeaway: The more competitive moments you have in sports, the more life lessons you’ll learn and be able to apply in life.
Life is full of lessons. The lessons come in all types of forms, but competitive sports will remain as one of the most prominent teachers.
To this day, I still think about my coaches who had us practice the days even after a victory.
Positive life-lessons don’t all have to make or break us.
When you find the right spot in your life to try a competitive sport, you’ll be glad you did.
A healthy body and a healthy mind will help you achieve your dreams.