The fifth reason I like sports is that they teach the importance of a strong work ethic.
In order to be successful in sports you have to show up, ready to practice, and ready to play. You need to follow the coach's instructions, even if you don't understand them. You can't quit, even when you might feel like it. If you do these things, your chances of success improve, and so does your team's.
I'm not saying that sports are the only place to develop a strong work ethic, but the days of paper routes, mowing the neighbor's lawn, or even babysitting may be gone. Chores at home help. First "real" jobs help. But sports provide a very motivating place to learn to work hard with your team.
Recently I started exchanging e-mails with a friend I dated in high school. Her grandparents owned a burger place where she worked sometimes. Later, after she married, her husband and her, along with some business partners, opened a small restaurant. In discussing with her what she looked for in an employee, she stated, "I'd be happy if the just showed up for work every day."
This tell me that many employees lack a strong work ethic. My friend would have been happy if they had a work ethic, let alone a strong one. A strong work ethic is valuable in sports and in life.
Many of the habits that a coach is looking for and trying to instill, are the same habits employers are looking for. Show up on time, be ready to contribute, maintain good levels of effort, be willing to learn and improve, get along with others: be a team player.
Although it's possible to play sports and not develop develop these characteristics, you have to work at it. You have to ignore your coaches, your team captains, and most of the stand-out athletes on your team. It can be done. You see it on teams and later on the job: they are the slackers. They didn't learn. They didn't want to.
Just because sports attempt to teach something, doesn't mean everyone will learn it.
But other athletes go beyond a strong work ethic: they excel. They stay after practice. They research and study the game. They watch movies. They ask questions. They don't give up, even when others do. They find a way to perform at optimum levels. They better themselves. They do better than expected. Sports afford them a training ground for developing life skills that will launch them into atmospheres of achievement unknown to many. Sports help them to develop into better people. (Not better than others, but better versions themselves.)
These are just some of the reasons I still play sports. Sports don't just provide benefits to the young, they provide the benefits to the young-at-heart. How young are you?