When I was applying to World Sport Chicago, I was unaware that it is much more than a scholarship program. Being a World Sport Chicago Scholar, to me, has meant getting guidance in my education as relating to sports as well as College Mentoring, facilitating my development as an athlete, and gaining a new perspective by meeting athletes from all corners of the globe.
Last week, I was given the opportunity to travel with fellow World Sport Chicago Scholars to Doha, Qatar and take part in the 2013 Doha GOALS (Gathering of All Leaders in Sport) Forum. The entire event began with a friendly soccer tournament in which my fellow scholars and I played and became friends with other athletes from Canada, France, Ivory Coast, Pakistan, Singapore, Spain, and Russia. These new friendships became the foundation of the latter parts of the conference in which we heard the perspectives of world-renowned Olympians and business leaders and applied our learnings to discussing the roles of sports in society. During â€śtaskforcesâ€ť we divided into groups and discussed topics such as what roles governments and the private sector should have in sports and how Youth Sports Programs can be promoted around the world. We discussed the positive roles sports play in society including through violence prevention, development of leadership skills, and benefiting under-served communities world-wide. It was interesting to learn about how our own sports programs in America differ from those in other countries and how exchanging ideas from one another can contribute to the proliferation of the benefits of sports.
Though I came into the conference as an American swimmer and water polo player representing World Sport Chicago, I emerged as an athlete with an ever broadened perspective. World Sport Chicago was what allowed me to gain this new understanding of athletics on a global scale and appreciate the role they play in my life. World Sport Chicago has had an ever-lasting effect on my life to this point in broadening my horizons as relating to sport. I look forward to what being a Scholar in World Sport Chicago will bring me in the future and how I can contribute to Community development in the Chicago area through my membership in the organization.