Listen Up

Many people who played sports – whether in a rec league as a kid, later in college or at a professional level – credit the games they played with teaching valuable lessons that helped them well after they walked off the field. We set out to find exactly what those lessons are by asking the people who would know. 


Walk into an NFL locker room, and you see all of these guys from different backgrounds. Then you understand how much sports teaches you about getting along with people. With team sports, everyone has to work in the same direction or you aren’t going to achieve your goals. That’s a life lesson that applies to everyone whether you’re involved in sports or not. You can only be as good as the people around you.
Jason Kelce
Center, Philadelphia Eagles 


I’ve learned it’s important to always give 100 percent, on and off the ice. I’ve given everything I got to be where I am and to be successful. That relates to everyday life – if you want to be successful, you’ve got to work hard.
Travis Konecny
Right Wing, Philadelphia Flyers 


My father, Vito, was my baseball coach. I liked to pitch. He used to say to me: “It’s not good enough to aim at the target. You must hit it.” In those days, your parents weren’t afraid to apply a little pressure. It worked. Taught me to stay focused – no matter what I’m doing in life. Sal Paolantonio ESPN National Correspondent 


Sports teaches how to accept adversity. Unfortunately, in life, you can’t win all the time. Sports teaches you how to deal with situations out of your control.
Jennifer Peifer
Softball Coach, Cherry Hill High School East 


I believe that sports mirrors life in so many ways. You have to work hard to achieve success. You have to work with others, and in the case of football, you have to mix different personalities and cultures, and find a way to come together in the ultimate team sport. There is a lot of sacrifice and commitment. The goal is to win and that’s not going to happen every time, so you need to handle those moments, too. Sports, to me, is a microcosm of life.
Doug Pederson
 Head Coach, Philadelphia Eagles  


Hard work produces results. How much do you want to succeed? You ask yourself that question every day in the NFL, because there is so much competition. If you don’t bring your best each and every day, there is going to be someone behind you ready to take your job. Sports is so goal oriented, as is life. You’ve got to work within the confines of the team, and you’ve got to follow the rules. There is a level of commitment that carries through to all aspects of your life. We’re all individuals, but we achieve success together. That’s kind of how life works, doesn’t it?
Malcolm Jenkins
Safety, Philadelphia Eagles 


Both my daughter and son started rowing in high school and now row in college. I’ve watched them practice six days a week,  and then compete, win and lose. They’re learning discipline and time management, but they’re especially learning how to be a leader. I’m so proud of them. I know they’re prepared for whatever comes next.
Brian Propp
Philadelphia Flyers Hall of Famer 


As a younger player coming in and playing with grown men, you learn to grow up and mature very fast. You have a group of guys that is like a family, and you become close. 
Scott Laughton (age 23)
Center, Philadelphia Flyers 


Sports can teach you how to control your emotions. A lot of times, players go through things during a game and they learn to hold in emotions and control them.
Jose Ledezma Jr.
Health and Wellness Director, Cumberland Cape Atlantic YMCA 


A life lesson I learned from sports is you must compete. Sports parallels busi­ness – if you want to be successful, you must compete to be great.
Ron Jaworski
NFL Analyst and former Philadelphia Eagles Quarterback 


Sports has taught me to never take anything for granted.
Taylor Leier
Left Wing, Philadelphia Flyers 


I’ve learned numerous life lessons from playing sports. It taught me how to function within the framework of a team. Once I understood my role, I played it with passion. It taught me to trust my teammates and gain the same trust from them by being accountable for my actions. Within the team framework you also learn to cooperate, adjust, win and yes, lose. Failure is not a person but an event, and a lot can be learned from losing if you give it your all. Sports, of course, fueled my competitive drive and gave me the confidence that I could do anything I put my mind to. Finally, playing sports gave me pride in being fit and pride in accomplishing what many thought impossible. In essence, playing sports made me feel Invincible!
Vince Papale
Author, Speaker, Inspiration for Disney’s “Invincible” 


Sports isn’t just about picking up the trophy. It’s about acquiring skills that can help you in life. To be an effective person you need to have respect, be resilient, be able to work with others, be able to deal with adverse situations and never give up no matter what life throws at you. Playing sports gives you the opportunity to build these skills.
James Galanis
Director of Soccer Operations, Universal Soccer Academy 


Sports have taught me the valuable life lessons needed to be successful in life. You learn how to work hard, day in and day out, no matter the circum­stances, and you learn how to believe in yourself.
Carli Lloyd


I learned at an early age that hard work and dedication are required to excel and improve. As I grew older, I learned the value of mental toughness, discipline and, what is vitally important to me now as a coach, being a good teammate. Having coached for over a decade, I place a very high value on respect (for teammates, coaches, officials,  opponents, etc.), communication, demeanor and body language. After all, young people are gaining skills that will serve them for a lifetime in their personal and professional lives.
Mike Schlotterbeck
Varsity Boys’ Soccer Coach, Moorestown Friends School 


You can learn much from losing. That’s when it can hurt the most, but it can make you stronger and a better person. Losing makes you hungry, so you set your goals higher the next game or season. As a life lesson, it teaches you that not everything will go your way, and you have to accept that and understand it.
Gene Bonetti
Katz JCC Fitness Director 


Almost every life lesson can be found in an athletic program. Sports teaches how to be a disciplined person and use your time correctly. Sports teaches how to deal with adversity and fame, and have class when you win and lose. It teaches how to build relationships to reach a common goal. One of the main components that sport teaches is how to communicate effectively. 
Christine Palladino
Girls’ Basketball Coach, Camden Catholic High School  


Two important life lessons I learned through sports is controlling the controllables and how to face adversity. I learned how I handle adversity is how I control a situation. Even when the situation seems to be unsolvable, I enjoy working hard to figure a way to solve the problem. 
Kathleen DeLitta
Women’s Head Soccer Coach, Rowan College at Burlington County 


I wrestled in high school, and sometimes I would exhaust myself just thinking about the matches ahead of me. I was a much better wrestler in practice, when I had no worries about the matches I was about to have. But at a tournament or match, I was more worried about losing than getting in the right mindset to win. The lesson I learned was to not let stress and anxiety get to you, but stay focused on what you love about participating.  
Eric Bauberger
Fitness Specialist, Virtua Center for HealthFitness 


Sports have taught me to be competitive in life and to be a hard worker, while believing in my own personal work off the court.
Dario Šarić
Forward, Philadelphia 76ers

June 2018
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