It’s Research Wednesday! Where I share the latest, or most fascinating, in the science of friendship.
“A 2003 Sport Canada survey of 1005 Canadian youth found that 87 percent of children who participated in sports made more friends. This is especially beneficial for children who feel like they don’t fit in, or who are introverted. Sports gives them common ground with other children and fosters a feeling of teamwork between children, making it easier to become friends.” (“Social Effects of Sports on Young Children”; Livestrong.com 8/11/2011)
Saturday is the 40th anniversary of Title IX. As a one-time self-proclaimed tomboy who hung Sheryl Swoopes Nike ads on her teenage bedroom bulletin board, I feel pretty indebted to those who paved the way for me to play basketball, field hockey, and softball in school.
Playing sports was, of course, great exercise and a valuable lesson in teamwork and strength and confidence. But it was also great for making friends. I started playing on a basketball team when I was in third grade, and I still feel a special bond with the old friend who played alongside me through 8th grade, and then coached with me in high school.
As a teenager, I became pals with teammates who were in different “cliques” than I. We would have never otherwise gotten to know each other, but we were on the same team, and that was a serious bond.
I used to think that making friends through sports was strictly a kids and student thing, but these days every city has a Sport & Social league where friend-seekers can play soccer/softball/kickball/bowling/etc and then go out and hang over beers or pizza. According to a 2009 story in The Oregonian, Sport & Social leagues are “now found in nearly every decent-size city from Philadelphia to Pasadena. Chicago, birthplace of the concept, has two competing sport and social clubs that total about 100,000 members plus satellite clubs in 13 cities nationwide.”
Chicago! You’ve done it again! A regular trailblazer in the world of friendship.
So, in the spirit of Title IX, and friendship, and summer, join a team! Or at least watch this ad, which was probably tbe best Nike ad ever ever ever.
What’s your sports and friendship story?