I always believed that participating in sports, at any level, was an important part of being a well rounded and healthy individual as well as providing many valuable life lessons.  As a child, I played little league baseball and in high school I participated in soccer and wrestling.

When I had my own children, I made sure that they each had the opportunity to enjoy the benefits of being involved in sports.  I took a hands-on approach and coached Matthew and Michael for five years in baseball and coached both Joseph and Julia for four years each in soccer.  I also led by example, as I have been regularly playing racquetball for over 30 years so far and played in an over forty soccer league until I came to my senses after a year of pain.

Matthew and Michael were skilled in both baseball and soccer and in high school also became competitive swimmers on a very successful school swim team as well as playing soccer on a premier travel team and the high school varsity team.   They both played soccer with the Syracuse University soccer club and continue to play soccer in adult leagues.

Joseph has been a highly competitive swimmer since he was five years old and was also on the high school swim team as well as playing soccer for a number of years.   Julia was a very accomplished soccer player and played on a premier boy’s travel team until she was 12 years old and then moved to a premier girl’s travel team as well as playing on the high school varsity team.

I am a very competitive person and always encouraged my children to be competitive as well.  I play to win and do not think that there is anything wrong with the pursuit of excellence in sports or in any other of life’s endeavors.  Despite my strong desire to win, I do not believe that winning is everything nor do I subscribe to the proposition that if you show me a good loser I will show you a loser.  I don’t feel that way because I believe the real lessons to be learned from participating in sports are more meaningful then just winning or losing.

As much as I like to win, I understand that the true lesson of sports is to learn to value the effort, the discipline, and the dedication that sports demand.  I always preached to my children and the many other children that I coached over the years that if you played hard and played fair and after giving it everything you could you still lost that you had nothing to be ashamed of since that is all sports and, ultimately, life require.

The real success you achieve in sports is not just measured by the score but also by the effort, integrity, and pride you bring to the game.   Now, that’s a life lesson that can benefit all of us.

On Wednesday, Joe expresses his belief that 40,000 new laws makes his case that we have too many laws in “A Law For All Reasons, Reprise”.