Surfing as an Alternative to Team Sports
Before I was a surfer I played a fair amount of team sports during my younger years. Think about that sentence for a moment, specifically the beginning, “Before I was a surfer.” I clearly identify myself with the surfing, (whether or not we wish to call it a sport is up to the reader) and the activity
to this day continues to influence everything in my life from important milestone decisions to more menial choices such as deciding on dinner.
Ask anyone who regularly surfs and they’ll attest to the same feeling: that the act of surfing has, and will continue to have, a sizable impact on their life. It’s a universally held belief across the community. What I don’t notice that often is the same amount of passion and identity placed into those, other than professional, of course, that participate in team sports such as baseball, basketball, soccer, etc. But why? Is there something about hitting the surf that creates a more addicting and self-identifying habit than hitting the courts? I believe there is something to it, and will support the notion that surfing is indeed a great alternative for those uninterested in team sports.
Breeds Individual Reward
Let’s face it, at the core surfing is an individualist activity. Despite how many people may be in the lineup, you’re out there on your own, and it’s up to you to get the waves you want. Reward
based off of individual effort and merit is an important phenomenon to experience for personal growth. It takes effort to get into those waves. Personal and physical energy. And the feeling of independence riding a wave in unparalleled in any other setting.
Cooperation and Respect
Just as surfing teaches the life lesson of individualism, it also instills the merits of collaboration with others. Just because you’re out there with others doesn’t mean they’re not trying to get the same set waves you’re out there to snag. Surfing has certain rules, both spoken and unspoken, that deal with respect and courtesy for others in the water. It’s for the sake of safety and civility in the water. A lesson any growing individual needs to understand.
Respect for the Environment
It’s just and you and ocean out there. A force of nature that will humble you in a heartbeat if certain precautions aren’t taken. And just as the ocean takes care of us during a fun swell, it’s the duty of surfers everywhere to take care of her. What lies here is the understanding of our place in the world. Many team sports don’t focus on the bigger picture at hand because there is typically very little interaction with the environment itself. Surfing not only teaches respect for others but respect for your environment
. It teaches humility and patience. And most of all the pillars of universality in nature.
Team Sports Are Still a Great Option
Understand this post is not intended to dissuade anyone from participating in team sports. They're great for exercise and development as well. The overarching theme here is to suggest another alternative for those not interested in trying out for the basketball team, or joining an extracurricular softball league. I know that I myself turned to surfing for the introspection and therapeutic experiences I enjoyed out in the water and back on land after a session. My only hope is that others can take to the sport for their own reasons and share in the stoke that is our favorite pastime.