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The Importance Of Sports In Empowering African American Children.

November 8, 2017 by  
Filed under Health, Sports, Weekly Columns

(Akiit.comSports are important for all children. All children. Some children are athletically inclined from a very young age, some children are not. But even if your children show very little interest in sports there are a lot of good reasons why they owe it to themselves to find a sport that works for them (because, believe me, there’s a sport for just about everyone). Sure, there are some negative aspects to sporting and sports fandom which we’ll discuss shortly but the benefits of sports are particularly pertinent to African American kids. Of course, the physical benefits of engaging with sports speak for themselves.

In the digital age, kids have more temptations than ever to lead a sedentary lifestyle as a screen junkie. Any activity that gets them active and engaging meaningfully with the outdoors and each other is great for their development. Physical exercise keeps the ever present threat of child obesity at bay as well as encouraging them to develop their social and teamwork skills.

The great leveller

But there’s more to sports than the physical and cognitive benefits. Sports have numerous sociological benefits that are of particularly important to black kids. Sports are the great leveller. Sports care nothing for social class, or parental income and the numerous economic or social disadvantages that plague black kids evaporate on the sports field. There’s no snobbery or elitism in sports. They are a true meritocracy. Of course, there are some kids who do not embody the sportsmanship or values of a true sportsman but this too can be good for their development. Honing their sporting skills and silencing their detractors or using rivalries with other children as a motivational tool can be instructive to a developing mind (so long as this doesn’t become personal or lapse into bullying).

Finding the right sport

Sports like basketball, boxing, football and baseball are dominated by African American icons, as are a great many track and field sports but if your child shows no interest in these, that’s no reason to think that the world of sports is lost to them. It’s easy to find a sport that plays to your child’s strengths. If they’re a strategist with great dexterity it might be worth getting them in touch with your local fencing academy or FCBC Canada Soccer Academy. If they’re strong for their age then field sports like discus or shot put may be more their speed. On the other hand if they’re quick and agile and bursting with energy they may excel in track sports or long and high jump.

Icons of sports

If there’s one thing that today’s black kids need it’s more positive role models, and children may be drawn to sports depending on the icons that they aspire to be. As a parent, it’s important to encourage aspiration but it’s equally important to ensure that your children look up to the right people. Unfortunately, sports icons of all races can compromise their iconic status with behavior that you certainly would not want your child to emulate.

Staff Writer; Larry Poole

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