WESTBOROUGH, MA April 1, 2017 In my family playing sports has been a lifelong commitment. There were plenty of times things did not go as hoped which can be heart breaking for student athletes and heart wrenching for supportive mom’s, dad’s and superfans everywhere. The physical and psychological benefit of playing sports is well-known just ask any member of the Mississippi State Women’s Basketball team who knocked off the goliath UConn women who had won 111 games without a loss. In fact, UConn defeated this same Mississippi State team by over 60 points in 2016. Not so fast.
Congratulations go to 5-foot-5 Morgan William whose winning shot in overtime sealed the win and punched their ticket to the Women’s Division I Semifinal game next week. As exciting as the win may have been, the UConn women will go down in history as having the longest unbeaten streak in history. The basketball program will be fine going forward – but it stings really bad right now in Storrs, CT. Why play sports? The highs and lows of competition teach us about success and failure. Whether we win or not does not matter as long as we work together and leave nothing on the court – or ice. Team work builds relationships and discipline – things needed for the real world. Even in Storrs, CT – home the the University of Connecticut amidst the tears and disbelief there is a lesson to be learned. In this case no team should be taken for granted and no single player can do it all. But last night against UConn it was Mississippi State’s Morgan William’ turn to shine and put on a clinic.
“The training fosters both physical and psychological resilience to stress.”
Women’s sport has grown exponentially since Title IX was introduced that leveled the playing field for female athletes. The physical benefits include improved cardiovascular health and stress-endorphine responses are immeasurable. Psychological benefits include reducing distress, enhancing confidence in abilities and recognizing psychological responses that need the attention of a mental health professional. These benefits have positive implications for long-term health and the prevention of OSI.
Ask any member of the Mississippi State Women’s basketball why they play sports and they will tell you it is for all these reasons and for the chance to end an 111 game winning streak that no one would believe could happen. But it did!