Mens sana in corpore sano remains the perennial dictum of a healthy education, but sport is also the recipe for a healthy thriving community.
"Sports in America have long reflected and reinforced the character traits that created the country: teamwork, discipline, toughness, fair play, courage, hard work. Journalist Robert Lipsyte noted that sports rose in popularity and became surrogate tests of moral timbre once the nation was settled coast to coast: 'After the closing of the Western frontier in 1890, there was no place left for American men to transform themselves into the stalwarts who would keep democracy alive and lead the country to global greatness. No more real redskins and bears to test our mettle. So sport became the new frontier.'
"Elite college undergraduates created football as a means of waging controlled war on foes, as training for the real world. For poor immigrants, it became a way to assimilate into American culture. Social reformers proclaimed organized physical fitness a path to broader personal improvement. Sports taught and instilled the virtues of endurance, self-control, overcoming, and sacrifice. In 1869, the YMCA began building gymnasiums with donated funds, to strengthen the minds, bodies, and spirits of young Americans. Boston YMCA staffer Robert Roberts coined the term “bodybuilding” and developed the first exercise classes and regimes that many of today’s gyms, trainers, and athletes follow. To instill confidence and rescue skills in young boys, the Y popularized swimming lessons. It fed teamwork, conditioning, and dexterity by building the first youth basketball leagues."--Jen Para, Philanthropy Magazine