A league of your own

Via Thinkstock
Via Thinkstock

Sports are the catalyst for healthy relationships 

By Elliot Chan, Opinions Editor

Few things can strengthen your relationship like athletic activities. It doesn’t matter if you are in shape or not; getting out in the open, breathing in the fresh air, kicking a ball around, or going for a hike does wonders for your psyche, and builds bonds with your partner. Sports challenge people and nurture competition, but also growth. If you want your relationship to flourish, don’t just go out to movies or bars.

The thing about sports is that there are a lot of them out there. Don’t like golfing? Go play soccer. If you don’t like swimming, go for a run. There is bound to be one that you and your partner will enjoy doing together.

It’s easy to be close-minded about sports and physical activity, especially if they’re new to you. God forbid you embarrass yourself in front of the girl or guy you are trying to impress. But you know what is attractive? The courage to try something new. The willingness to go out and participate. Why not share a new activity with the person you care about? Why not make a new memory? If you really don’t like it, give it up. Nobody is forcing you to go pro.

Participating in sports doesn’t only flex your muscles; it also nourishes teamwork. Relationships, be they romantic or platonic, are people working together to accomplish something. And to accomplish anything, we must be able to communicate. Sports teach people to converse skillfully and patiently. If you can’t understand each other on the field, you’ll lose. If you can’t understand each other at dinner, you’ll be hungry.

Sports can also bring people together in other ways, such as being a spectator. There is nothing like the camaraderie of cheering for the same team. The jubilation of a victory, the heartbreak of a loss—these are the emotions that bind people together. Understanding the variability and the odds against the team, yet still supporting them wholeheartedly is something couples need to learn how to do. They need to commit to something together. They need to commit to each other. A couple’s ability to sit down and root for a team is a good indication that they have a strong bond and their relationship has potential.

It’s true that sports can offer some important life skills and teach us to interact with friends, family, and co-workers, but they also present an escape from day-to-day life. It’s not about athleticism. It’s about vitality. It’s not about doing something well. It’s about the willingness to try and get better. I am talking about sports, but I’m also talking about relationships. You hear couples in troubled relationships sometimes say that their partner is against them. It should never feel that way. And when it does, sports and exercise together can help eliminate that horrible sensation.