After watching the steep and valiant competition amongst college basketball teams during March Madness, I am reminded of the many life lessons that the game of basketball can provide. The young men and women on those teams not only conditioned themselves physically, but also spiritually and mentally. They learn to work with each other for mutual success with values of respect and personal responsibility.
Not many know that the game itself originated at the YMCA. And much like the game, the Y is a platform to meet others and develop meaningful friendships – sometimes ones that can last a lifetime. Playing a sport teaches both children and adults to lean on the strength of team members while also carrying your own load. These valuable skills can be applied in so many settings– in work, in your community and at home. These are lessons we don’t ever fully outgrow.
Learning to lose with good sportsmanship is also a valuable life skill. It reminds us that we have more work to do to better ourselves – and sometimes despite our best efforts, we may not cross that finish line. Losing also helps you to be a better winner, too – to appreciate the hard work and training.
As crazy as our lives are these days, it can be our tendency to put our wellness efforts last behind work and family obligations. We know from experience that the better you take care of yourself, the better able you are to take care of your families, to lead at work and to positively affect the environment around you. It’s actually OK - or rather, it is critical - to rank it high on your priority list.
We have to constantly challenge ourselves to be better, to constantly grow. If we don’t, we lose our edge and ability, and the results can be devastating over time. The way to guard against that is to lean into your challenges, the things that may cause you a little fear. Pushing ourselves beyond what we think are our limits is a good thing.
The Y is the place to be if you want to improve your performance for whatever sport you participate in – whether you play golf, run marathons, compete in Spartan races, or if your goals are more general to build strength and endurance overall. The real value-add, though, is as you work on conditioning yourself, you will also be building great relationships from all areas of our community by being a part of the Y. That exposure to people who are different from you, is also a great learning experience.
Even in adulthood, the ones who are most successful are those who understand the strengths of each of their team members, work to solicit support or delegate responsibilities, and those who learn that we achieve so much more when we work together versus going at it alone. Our team here at the Y wants to help you reach your God-given potential. We have the shoulders you can stand on – to help coach you along the way and provide the community support that most people need to be well-rounded in spirit, mind and body.
Life is fleeting, and it can be humbling. While it is good to be selfless and to sacrifice for others, you can only do so for so long without taking care of yourself. Consistent conditioning, much like the men and women on the college basketball team during March Madness, builds resiliency and helps you keep your perspective, no matter what life throws your way.