Most young professionals (YPs) enjoy organized, recreational sports. Whether it’s beer league hockey, mixed indoor soccer, or those awesome weekend slow-pitch tournaments, we participate in organized sports because they’re fun and it’s good for us. But as we start to pile on the responsibilities that come along with YP life, along with a bigger workload and greater family obligations, many of us tend to put our recreational activities lower and lower on the priority list. Beyond the obvious reasons why YPs enjoy sports, there are also additional benefits to carrying on with sports throughout our busy adult lives. So before you decide that you don’t have time for that weekly game, match, or tourney, check out these other reasons why we should never give up sports (and then keep them on hand for when your partner or boss wants to argue otherwise).
A different kind of networking event
Those YPs who play organized sports have a unique advantage over those who don’t. In addition to that extra bit of muscle tone and improved cardio, recreational athletes also develop a whole other world of friends and acquaintances… perhaps even potential clients and sales. Belonging to a team and going out and playing other teams offers incredible opportunities for expanding our networks. Additionally, having a chance to meet and interact with different people outside our usual social and professional circles, on a regular basis, also helps to build our personal and professional reputation. Make a sweet goal, and your name will go around that other office all day tomorrow – not a bad way to build a rep! And we all know that playing team sports isn’t just about the game; there is always time for a few post-game laughs and handshakes over a couple beers. So get out there, champ, and score some new connections.
From the ballgame to the boardroom
Engaging in sport isn’t all just fun and games. There are serious skills, beyond the physical, that can also be learned, honed, and applied to professional life. There are the obvious ones like learning to work as a team, and how to be a leader, but there are also other, more individualized skills, like how to succeed and fail gracefully, how to gauge and harness a healthy dose of competitiveness, and how to push beyond your comfort zone. Working to maintain these YP skills is essential, and doing so via sports certainly beats doing it in those annual teambuilding workshops.
Now, for the (alternative) fun part
We can’t just dismiss the fun factor of playing team sports. Fun is serious business, and is a very key component to a balanced YP life. For many of us, social time typically involves a degree of consumption, whether it be dining, having drinks, going shopping, or taking in entertainment. Adding recreational sports to our list of fun activities offers a healthy (both physically and mentally) and often less expensive alternative to our usual social doings.
Taking up team sports can also be an enticing way to get off the couch and get into shape for those who find classes or the gym totally unexciting. Nothing gets you pumped up and pushing harder than a whole team depending on you.
Overall, the benefits of keeping up with the sports we’ve always loved as we venture into our adult lives are nearly unlimited. So make it a priority to stick with it and tell your boss and spouse sorry, but tonight’s game night!