Social connection is at the root of what the Montrose Recreation District (MRD) is all about. It is strange to think that participating in sports can be a great relationship builder. After all, many sports are created around the idea of fierce competition and rivalry. But healthy competition is good for us all. Studies have shown that people who grew up playing sports have more finely developed social skills than those who did not. Participating and being a part of a team boosts self-esteem and overall health as well, at any age. Some play to win and others just want to be a part of something. Either way, there are many positive benefits to playing sports. Sports build community and quality of life, which is, after all, central to the mission of the MRD.

As children, we participate in sports because we want to play, compete and be around friends. Participating in sports is also great for building relationships with those we play with. It helps kids learn important social skills, the components of a successful team, how to accept others, support friends and the value of fair competition. These social interactions are imperative in the development of healthy children.

Long after childhood has become a distant memory, sports can continue to act as a positive outlet for people to bond with their peers through teamwork and friendly competition. We as adults also need social interactions to help us grow as people. Sports can help build relationships with family, whether it’s getting your siblings together to play in a volleyball tournament, letting your wife destroy you in tennis (or rather, having no choice in the destruction), or simply playing catch with your child. These activities give you the ability to talk through problems and to work as a team, which helps build those relationships.

Sports have the ability to bring people together, even in holy matrimony. In my 10 years with MRD, I have seen the social benefits of playing in a league and the impact it has on participants. For example, I have seen numerous couples meet and start dating, followed by a marriage proposal, a wedding and babies. This was all because two people played a sport together.

These benefits extend to the work realm as well.The teamwork learned while playing sports can be very beneficial for businesses. When coworkers get involved in sports leagues together, they learn how to work together outside of the office and this enhances the teamwork that is integral at work. Sports have a way of getting people to learn how to work together more efficiently. Such connection gives employees something in common. We have many business teams currently in our leagues and some put up sponsorship money to recognize the most homeruns, the most touchdowns or the best sportsmanship. This is a great way to keep people engaged and enjoying work, thereby benefitting retention, productivity and morale.

For those that are looking to build relationships by playing sports, the MRD offers many options. You do not even have to have a team to participate; there is free agent registration too. Whether you dig volleyball, softball, soccer (indoor, soon, at the Montrose Field House, and outdoor), basketball, dodgeball, football, etc., etc., the MRD is eager to help you engage your inner athlete. Your inner athlete is there and always will be, even if he or she has been dormant for a while. Please come join us for some fun!

Wade Ploussard is Montrose Recreation District’s adult recreation coordinator.

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