By Coley Mills, Catherine Tricker, & Emma Black
Sport is an amazing thing. It is the only industry that can reach people all over the world and create a passion unlike anything else. During our trip to the Dominican Republic, we witnessed this first hand. Without speaking the same language, SMBA ’18 was able to play all sorts of games with the children there and have a fun time. The ability to kick a soccer ball towards a young boy and have him kick it back, without hesitation, shows how sports are the ultimate connector of people. Throwing a basketball to a young girl and seeing her dribble it to the hoop and shoot, illustrates universal standardizations of behavior in sports.
Without having the same resources or upbringings, these children were able to play the sports with our class, at a similar level of skill, and we were all able to connect. We played games, we laughed, we got a little competitive, and in those moments we engaged in sport together, it was as if we were from the same place, speaking the same language. Passing around the basketball or kicking the soccer ball together, we often forgot we were miles away from home in a foreign country. Sports that connect communities do not need to be complicated, they do not need to be structured, but they should be present, even in the most simple format.
For us, this trip was more than just playing with the kids; it was about being reminded of what sports can provide for people throughout the world and why we are all pursuing a career in something we are passionate about. Sports are a relief from stresses of everyday life, a confidence builder, and a way to make friends. Something as simple as a soccer ball or volleyball, brings so much joy to these children. The kids we met have such a passion for what they are doing and it was clear that sports have a positive impact on their lives. The power of sport connects people throughout the world, from various backgrounds and cultures, while bringing a universal happiness and joy.