Playing sport for the love of the game

Sports are the first official love of my life. I enjoy writing about them, but I enjoy playing them even more.

At UVU, we have a great thing going in our intramural programs, equipped with new fields and courts to enjoy. However, upon playing these sports here on campus, one thing has been made clear: people take the games a little bit too seriously.

I have been playing sports since I started walking. My childhood was filled with playing baseball, soccer, basketball, wrestling and, most importantly, football.

Having such an extensive background in playing sports, I am aware of the internal drive to compete and to win each contest I have been in. This desire never goes away, but it can be dialed back a bit.

For example, last fall I was part of a flag football team in the school league. My team was awful. I only knew a few of the players and it was an open team, so we had a ragtag group that was comparable to the “Bad News Bears.”

We didn’t get along with each other, because we took it too seriously and wanted to win. We all thought we knew what was best for the team and we failed miserably, only winning one game the entire season.

This time around in the spring semester, I am playing with those that I have known for a while and we just have fun playing in the games. We have already won more games this semester than my previous team. We have fun and it’s because we don’t take it too seriously.

Sadly, the same thing cannot be said of other teams that play or even people that play on the same team as me.

We all are former players of the game and played competitively. However, arguing with the referees and comparing the flag version to the real version of football will go nowhere.

There are rule differences and some players need to be aware that what you can get away with in real football does not crossover into flag football.

The reason why they don’t crossover is for player safety. I am aware that when the ball is tipped in real football, you can make contact with the receiver. That may affect the way you play, but it is something you’ll have to get used to.

For me, I was a guard my entire career from second grade to college as a walk-on. In flag football, you can’t use your hands and you can only mirror the defender.

I have been trained my entire life to pop the defender in the chest and now I can’t use my arms. What is a trained assassin to do? Adjust to the rules and just play.

One thing to always remember is that the refs are human. Don’t forget that they are students too and will make mistakes all the time.

Remember, too, that even the professional referees make mistakes. Having mistake-free sports its not even part of the game.

If a mistake is made, just move on. There is nothing that can be done. Just accept it and keep playing. There is no reason to jaw at the ref. If anything, that could make the ref not like you and want to throw a flag. I have seen that happen at the college ranks.

Playing sports should just be fun. Far too many times people take themselves too seriously and something happens that prevents people from enjoying these types of organized sport.

Learn from the example of what happened when a young man didn’t like a referee’s call and he punched that ref in the head. The injuries proved to be fatal and the referee died.

We’ve already had one brawl break out at our school recently, and we don’t need anymore. Be a good sport and just play for the love of the game.

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