Becoming a part of the group is one of the essential drives of human beings. Socialization is in the very nature of most primates and one can hardly thrive without creating meaningful connections with family members and friends. In fact, the proclivity to adapt to other people, create more connections, and a sense of fair play are all good markers that determine the success of an individual. However, matters like fair play need to be developed properly. This is why “dramatizations” of real-life struggles through sports are such an enticing and attention-grabbing matter for most people. That is also an important factor along with the other 3 key reasons why you should still be playing team.
1. The needs of a social animal
When an individual engages in a team sport, there are several psychological and physiological factors that are at play. First of all, the team sport fulfills the deeply rooted need to engage in a structured sort of play with other members of one’s own kind. The importance of such dynamics is quite evident from the very beginning of children’s lives when they start to look beyond their parents for socialization with peers. The games might appear to be innocuous, but rough and tumble play is actually much deeper and it fulfills several functions: it promotes cognitive development, establishes motor functions, improves the self-image and encourages the secretion of happiness hormones.
There is a greater chance the person that engages in team sports will “shape” their brain into an assembly of neural synapses of a socially well-adapted individual. In fact, adults that keep engaging in these games can use the dynamic of their favorite team sport to work through certain life difficulties, sometimes even unconsciously – which is a matter that goes to show the deeply rooted importance of these “externalized” and “dramatized” struggles.
Furthermore, most of these games and the way we engage with them translate into other spheres of life – the way we tackle family issues and the way work environments unfold. Most companies, or the rules of modern capitalism to be more specific, have a set of corporate rules that have actually derived, in many ways, from the rules of group games, and if you go far back enough, even from rough and tumble play. Therefore, a person who is well adapted to playing well with others is more likely to achieve success in the realm of business.
2. You will discover what games you are good at
You cannot win at every game in life. Each of us is predisposed to excel at a limited number of skills, often to such an excess that they can easily be called talents. However, while some people are graced with intuiting the nature of their talent early on, others will have to stumble in the dark until they find the reasonably narrow assortment of “games” they can play successfully. As long as they keep to these games, they are more likely to find success.
Still, in order to discover the games you are good at, you will need to suffer losses at the games you cannot play properly. Playing with the group will help you discover this. Maybe you are not as good at playing basketball or soccer – maybe you excel at volleyball or some other sport that is a bit more obscure, like netball.
The difference between the rules of basketball and netball might be the exact edge that determines your talent’s extent. Maybe the nature of the game and the innovative appearance of netball uniforms are right down your alley. The point is – you will not be certain until you try everything. Likewise, you will not learn what position in the team you are best at until you learn how to play harmoniously with others.
3. Commitment and physical exercise combine to create – discipline
A matter of commitment is intertwined with motivation. When you are exercising alone, there is a sense of modularity when it comes to the activity that can hardly be applied to a group sport. When you are engaged in a group sport on weekly basis, others depend on your commitment. You cannot simply decide to “not do it today” or “move the training to another part of the day” just because you feel like it. Such commitment, coupled with the physical exercise factor, builds motivation and discipline over time.
Furthermore, this can be a good way to vent your stress and reinvigorate yourself with energy. The lives of adults are filled with deadlines and chronic anxieties which is something that has a detrimental long-term impact on both physical and mental health. Engaging in a sport you like with your friends is a good way to escape the pressures of everyday life. The fact that you are doing this with your peers who are probably trudging through the same motions in life as you are, is also a form of “group therapy” that can hardly be replaced with anything. Especially if you have done this for years.
The health benefits of regular exercise are impossible to deny. As your body gets used to a certain influx of physical exhaustion, the blood flow becomes better and you are less likely to get cardiovascular problems. Of course, your nervous system also reaps the benefits of the improved blood flow – especially your brain. This circles back to the previously mentioned matter of happiness hormones. As your brain registers that your body is getting enough exercise and socialization at the same time, it will reward you immensely with secretion of many beneficial chemicals that will improve your mood, readiness and motivation.
In the end, is it about winning? It is a hard question to answer, but one thing is for certain – it is definitely NOT about losing. This is an important perspective to emphasize because each of us will lose one way or the other. It is a harsh fact of life – but as long as you take the loss with dignity and continue playing, it is all that matters. When one loses as a part of the group, one opens oneself to the possibility to learn that losing is not the fault of a singular person and to take it on the chin. Furthermore, it is much easier to “pick up the pieces” and continue fighting when you do not carry the weight alone.