LSU Legend Warren Morris
What would my life be like if I had never played sports? For the son of a high school basketball coach, that possibility is very hard to imagine. I am told one of my very first words was “ball.” Sports have been such a big part of my life for as long as I can remember; to have no athletic involvement whatsoever would take away a large part of who I am.
Joining sports teams was a great way for a shy kid such as me to build self-esteem and learn how to make friends. My childhood and teenage years are full of terrific memories from my athletic teams. From my college years to my early 30’s, I played at LSU, represented the USA in the Olympics, and played major league baseball against the best in the world. Although playing ‘at the next level’ was amazing, I truly hold my memories from childhood little league, church league basketball, high school baseball and basketball to be equally as special.
Growing up with sports I learned many very important life lessons that have given me a tremendous advantage out in the real world today. By being on a team, I learned to work well with all personalities, to respect, support and encourage others, and to be responsible for doing my part. Training helped me to overcome obstacles, become dedicated, and to learn to be proud of small achievements while setting and working toward a larger goal. Wins and losses taught me to be humble in success and gracious in defeat. I learned time management. I learned the importance of respect; respect of my body, equipment, authority, and peers. These skills have served me well today as a family man and as an adult in the working world who volunteers in our community.
I never realized at the time that I was gaining all these valuable lessons that would help me later in life. I played because it was fun! I love the fact that the term “Play ball!” is synonymous with the start of a baseball game. First and foremost, sports are about playing a game. It is designed to be fun and always should be. There is definitely work involved, as it should be, but that can ultimately be part of the fun, too.
So, I encourage children and young people to join a team. Sports were where it was at for me. If athletics are not of interest, join an academic, club, civic, church, or skills team. Give it a shot and get involved. As I’ve experienced, you’ll have fun, make friends and memories, and collect valuable abilities that will last you a lifetime. Whether it’s hitting a home run in the bottom of the 9th of the College World series or a coach’s positive pep talk after a hard-battled defeat, those memories and lessons will stay with you forever. Play ball!