Why People Should Play Soccer
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There are many people in the world who are obsessed with soccer. It seems that it is a result of its popularity around the world and the willingness of people to make money on it. This argument has the right to go on. However, in fact, the reasons lie much deeper. People from the beginning of life on the Earth try to find a good means that can help them to be of the sound mind and body. They tried different things starting from ancient magical rituals to neoplasty. However, in the course of this searching, they understood that the most helpful one is a sport. Soccer has become an integral part of the social and cultural life in many countries and has been considered not only as a branch of sport but also as a good means to improve health. Soccer has a positive influence on the physical and mental state of a person and is a way to make the players as fit as a fiddle.
To understand the nature of a thing, it is necessary to immerse oneself in the history of its development as only there we can find the keys of it the most important functions. Soccer for the first time was played in China. Firstly, it seems that there is nothing special with the origin of soccer as many things have been discovered in China, but if to take into consideration the spiritual ideology of this country such as Buddhism, Confucianism, and Daoism, everything falls into place. Chinese believe that the deeds of a person mark her future, and it is necessary to do only such things that can bring benefit to the soul and improve through it the health.
Thereby, it is obvious that the first functions of this game were to improve the physical and mental states of health. However, from that period soccer has undergone different transformations before it has become soccer that is now popular around the world. That is why it is necessary to return to the initial function of soccer and consider it not only as a good way to make money but a good way to physical and mental well-being.
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Soccer has a great influence on the health of children. Narula Shelley states that with the help of soccer young people can improve their health and gain such benefits as “enhanced cardio-respiratory fitness, increased muscular strength and endurance, and favorable cholesterol and other profiles, which further prevent heart diseases” (Shelley n.p.). Jordan Rubin supports this position and adds: “Soccer demands lung-bursting running that’s great for kids’ cardiovascular system and burning up calories” (Rubin 111). Narula Shelley presents a couple of examples to prove it.
One of them is the results of research published by the American College of Sports Medicine. “Researchers recruited a large group of prepubertal Spanish boys and followed them for more than three years. Those who regularly played soccer for at least three hours a week were compared to those who only engaged in regular in-school physical education of two, 45-minute sessions per week. … The results of the study showed that the soccer group not only increased whole-body bone mineral density but also had higher regional measures in areas such as the lumbar spine (13 percent) and the femoral neck in the hip (10 percent). These increases correlated statistically to increases in other fitness factors such as anaerobic capacity and force generated during jumping” (Shelley n.p.).
Thereby, it is obvious that soccer has a positive effect on children’s health. However, soccer improves adults’ state of health too. It requires from players a great physical training to become an elite soccer player. It is necessary to follow biological requirements (nutritional requirements, training activities and recovery strategies), the behavioral and social requirements (“skills, processes, and mechanisms underpinning the superior ability of elite players to “read the game”), performance analysis, biomechanics and coaching requirements (the methods available for undertaking match and motion analysis) and so on (Williams 10). All these requirements altogether contribute to the physical well-being of players.
Soccer improves not only the physical state of health but also mental. Firstly, it contributes to the socialization of a person. Narula Shelley admits that soccer is helpful for the improvement of social position because it is a great way to socialize with friends through working as a team and doing all to gain a victory (Shelley n.p.). Secondly, soccer is a source that teaches how to cooperate with other people in order to achieve a common goal. Playing soccer, a person sacrifices himself and his interests for the benefit of the team. It builds thankfulness relationships between the players. Thankfulness creates a positive team relationship. When teammates feel one appreciates their efforts, they will work with enthusiasm to help this one, and it will contribute to the harmony in the team.
Moreover, soccer teaches people to become selfless because to achieve a common goal, players have to become one entire organism (Jones and Sanders). All these can be applied in real-life practice. Thereby soccer teaches how to live properly. Thirdly, soccer brings many benefits to the person who plays it. Those benefits are an improvement in academic performance, coordination, discipline, concentration, and self-regulation. In addition, it helps to reduce anxiety and reject all the prejudices about the weakness of women as girls and boys play soccer together.
“Happy Like Soccer” by Maribeth Boelts
However, without real examples, all the benefits of soccer seem very abstract. As almost all literary works are based on real-life experience, a good way to understand whether soccer can improve physical and mental health is to find the answer in literary books. “Happy Like Soccer” is a children’s picture book written by Maribeth Boelts. It has gained unparalleled popularity among young readers throughout the world.
It deals with the story of a little girl, Sierra, who likes to play soccer. This game is a mix of joy and sadness for her. It is a joy because nothing brings Sierra more pleasure than playing soccer with her new team where she is one of the best players. It is sad because Sierra’s aunt is not able to attend her games. However, one day she manages to do it. It makes the girl the happiest person in the world. Returning to the theme of soccer, from this book, it is clear that soccer is an opportunity for children to start new friendships, overcome loneliness, hardships of a poor family and disappointment, gain the courage to change a bad event into a positive one, and understand the importance of the nearest and dearest (Boelts).
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“Breathing Soccer” by Debbie Spring
All these are proved by the example described in another book “Breathing Soccer” by Debbie Spring. This book deals with the story of a young girl Lisa who is forbidden to play soccer because of her illness. Liza has asthma and continuation of the soccer career may have lethal consequences for her. However, girl risks because she cannot imagine her life without soccer. To the surprise of all, she recovers and brings her dream into life. From this book, it is clear that soccer brings benefits to health. Moreover, it gives hope and power to stand against all the difficulties (Spring).
To sum up, soccer is a play with a long history. Firstly soccer was played in China, and it reflected the social and spiritual beliefs of this country. Now it is deeply ingrained in popular culture as it helps to improve both the physical and mental state of a person. The benefits of soccer are not only abstract things that no one can achieve, but they are proved by the real examples described in literary works such as “Happy like Soccer” and “Breathing Soccer”.
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