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Play Hard, Smell Good!
Research suggests that the simple act of play may protect some children from the lasting, negative effects associated with childhood trauma. Games, sports, and learning to be part of a team help children to build social skills and to foster discipline in ways that build both physical and mental strength. Playing sports is usually thought of as a way to allow younger children to “burn off steam” and to give them a chance to stay active and be healthy. However, there is an underlying impact that we too often under-estimate: the psycho-social framework that is at work when children play, whether engaging in a solo or team sport.
In every part of the world, the pandemic has forced us to restructure, rethink, and reinvent how we do life. When we think about a child’s experience, we know it doesn’t stop at missed birthday parties or adapting to virtual school. Organized youth sports have also taken a hit, raising the question of what kids have been doing while some sports programs remain cancelled and others have restarted on a limited basis. Have they returned to unstructured play or picked up some other physical activity? Answers may differ across societies or class lines, but the constant must be an opportunity for the enjoyment, physical stimulation, and emotional development they would have experienced through organized sport.
Basketball has captured the attention of athletes of all ages since it was invented in 1891 in Springfield, Massachusetts. Mr. Tommy Johnson has coached basketball for the past 20 years. He says the sport offers our youth the chance to see that there’s more out there than ‘X-Box and PlayStation’. “Young people today have so much available to them,” he says. “Social media can be good, but it can also be crushing. Being involved in basketball offers an opportunity to focus on something more.”
Players or officials showing any sign of illness must get immediate medical attention, report it to their club and submit a health certificate before returning to training and/or matches. Coaches and players are also required to declare if a member of their household has tested positive for COVID-19 and are required to withdraw from participating until cleared.