This summer I’m participating in the Mitsubishi City Chase, an adventure race (sort of like The Amazing Race, except for a single day in one city) around Toronto in support of Right to Play, a non-profit organization that uses participation in sports and games to improve the lives of disadvantaged children through empowerment and education.
This morning I heard a member of the organization talk about the history and goals of Right to Play. When the non-profit organization was first established by Norwegian Olympic speed skater Johann Olav Koss, there was a lot of scepticism regarding the importance of Koss’ goal to bring used sports equipment to children in third world countries. Issues such as AIDS, malaria and political unrest were deemed much more important, but what people didn’t realize was the value of using sports and games to educate and empower. Right to Play identified citizens of developing nations as not just mouths to feed, but as people. People that deserved the right to be nurtured and educated.
Why do I support Right to Play? My whole life I have been given the right to play any sport or activity that I’ve shown interest in. I’ve flirted with ballet, jazz, figure skating and tennis lessons. Through school I’ve had the opportunity to play on badminton, volleyball, basketball, cross country and track teams. I’ve competitively played soccer and basketball. Through all my experiences in sport activities, I’ve developed and enhanced important qualities that are applicable in all areas of my life. As captain of my basketball team I enhanced my leadership skills, learned how to diffuse confrontation and was given the chance to inspire and motivate my peers. As one of the weakest players on my volleyball team, I worked on my discipline and perseverance in refining my skills, and gained a new appreciation for the importance of practice. In general, sports have allowed me to appreciate teamwork and communication.
All the skills that sports have taught me are only a few examples of the many different life skills that sports can teach. But aside from all the social and educational benefits of sports, they are fun. And everyone deserves a little fun. Everyone deserves the right to play.
Even a dollar can help enroll one child in a week of sports activities. Donate to Right to Play by following this link http://righttoplay.akaraisin.com/Pledge/Participant/Home.aspx?seid=3716&pid=575670&mid=9