01 Jul What sport can teach us about the power of connection
Human connection is the bond that protects us, lets us feel good and gives us emotional support and enjoyment – and as the past couple of weeks have shown sport is a great way to connect to others.
There is no avoiding the collective sense of excitement at the progress of England’s national team in Euro 2020, even for those who aren’t football fans. People have been getting together in homes and pubs, firing up the barbecue and discussing the team’s chances in between. The sense of connection that brings in fans is immense.
It’s not only the football that has us fired up as a nation – Wimbledon is another national institution that has us glued to our TV screens and discussing the fortunes of Britain’s tennis stars – and favourites from further afield.
“Sports is a bunch of people gathering around, watching something that they’re not actually connected to – they’re just emotionally connected.”
Nurturing real life connections easily
While watching sport will bring us together as a nation, playing sports is a natural way to connect with friends, colleagues and even people you have never met before. As screens dominate too much of our time and can erode real life connection, sport is an excellent way to combat this. Playing as a team together, or even against each other, means the screens are away and comradery (or friendly rivalry!) takes prime position.
Exercise is good for your body and mind, and the relationships that you make through sport will usually continue off the field. In fact, the social aspect of tennis has been linked to players living up to 10 years longer it is so good for your mental and physical health.
This is no doubt linked to the fact that is one of the six essential human needs of:
- Variety/ uncertainty
Having that strong feeling of being united with someone and sharing a connected passion is particularly strong with the highs and lows of sport – and the shared experience.
“Sports creates a bond between contemporaries that lasts a lifetime. It also gives your life structure, discipline and a genuine, sincere, pure fulfilment that few other areas of endeavour provide.”
Discovering a special bond
Spending time with people who have similar interests to you will allow conversation to flow and for a special bond to be created – this is true of non-sporting interests too, such as films, art and music. If you find something that you love, sharing that love with someone else is an easy and powerful way to make lasting connections.
Back on Track Teens recognises the importance of connection and it is one of the key components in the Ignition! programme that helps people understand how to live their best life by discovering what fuels them personally. With the right building blocks in place, and understanding what they need, young people can push away past frustrations to live the life that they want to.
Whatever happens on the field of play, the connections that are made in supporting a joint cause will leave a lasting impression and let us experience the highs and the lows together.
“If you want to discover the true character of a person, you have only to observe what they are passionate about.”
Shannon L. Alder
DATES FOR YOUR DIARY THIS JULY
This UN day was created to highlight the importance of training and education in young people to enter rewarding careers. The day aims to bring together young people, training and education institutions, and employers to ensure that the world’s youth have the skills to support and take part in sustainable development across the globe. Having the right chances at the right age is essential to living a better life. This year’s World Youth Skills Day will salute the work of young learners to build on their skills despite the difficulties of online learning through the pandemic.
Choose the life you want to lead
Emotional connections let us share ups and downs with people that will cry and laugh with us. This is one of the joys and reassurances of life. With a shoulder to cry on sadness passes easier, and with a friend to celebrate with wins are so much sweeter.
Nurturing strong connections from a young age is important to developing as a happy, strong and resilient person. Knowing where to find those connections and how to nurture them is so important to teenagers.
My book The Spark to Your Success will help to guide teenagers in discovering what their passion in life is – and how to make the most out of that.
For tips, support and advice – or to share your experiences – join our online community.
Support young people in learning to make the connections that will guide them through life and let them make the most of its many experiences.