Sport can play a bigger role in creating greater community cohesion than many realize. In addition to bringing our neighborhoods closer together and keeping children active, sport can open up a whole world of opportunity through meeting new people and sharing experiences.
Some of my best childhood memories took place in makeshift ball fields in random areas of the town I grew up in. We would use just about anything for bases; a rock, a shoe, sometimes it wouldnâ€™t even be something you could step on, like a bush. If we were lucky enough to have some sort of fence in the area, or a line of trees, then we would have ourselves a little home run fence. Baseballs were easily lost, so we used anything from tennis balls to red rubber balls, or really anything spherical that could be thrown. It wasnâ€™t always baseball either. Football, basketball, soccer, you name it. It really did not matter what equipment we had or what space was available.
No matter what sport we chose that day, we would get the whole neighborhood involved. Sometimes one of our parents would join in, and it really made it a hundred times more fun. Even if they were just watching, it made all the difference in the world to us. I feel that it was these games that really brought our neighborhood closer. All my friendsâ€™ parents as well as my own all knew one another and cared for each otherâ€™s kids as if they were their own because we were always playing some type of sport together.
When a neighborhood comes together to play and work towards a common goal, it provides opportunities for new friendships and creates overall community wellness. So whenever you have the opportunity, encourage your child to try a new sport, play the games with them, and bring your community closer together.