Tuesday, June 2, 2015

Is Dance A Sport?

The Headlines:


Dance is fun.

But is it a sport?

It's something I've debated for years.





Sports.  They're huge in America.  People live and die by the team they route for... they idolize the men and women who play... they spend millions on support.  To be a Sports icon is arguably just as, if not more important, as any movie star, rock star, tech star elected official or billionaire. 

So it's no surprise when people have children... they often put them in a sport. 

Not necessarily to have their child become the next Peyton Manning/A-Rod/LeBron James... but to teach them skills, determination, team work, losing, winning, community and so on and so forth.  No debating here - I completely agree, there are many, many things to learn learn from a sport.  So when the time came to enroll my daughter in sports, we did.  In kindergarten she learned to golf.  Which she likes and is pretty good at.  Then soccer.  Which she didn't like at all.  But all the while she had also been enrolled in dance which seemed to suit her best. 


At age 4 we saw her first recital.  She was good.  She was cute.  She actually kind of stole the show with that shake of hers.  And so it was decided... she would stay with prancing and kicking!

Now, at 8 years old - 5 years of dance later - she likes it and is having fun.  Great says BP (the husband)!  But he questions... does she also need to do a "sport?"

Which begs the question:


For the record, BP means, "traditional" sport.  One that has clear winners and losers at the end of a game or match.   Something that can motivate and empower team members.  A sport that enables you to give the person next to you a big high 5 after a job well done.  Where individuality shines on the person while it simultaneously propels the team.  He wants my daughter to feel like she's a part of a team that is working weekly towards a common goal... i.e.: softball, soccer, basketball.  

He does not feel a dance team is as reliant on each other.  I get his point.  If my daughter does a particularly high kick, no one pats her on the butt and says - "way to go!"  It goes, almost, unnoticed.  Therefore, he feels some accountability and engagement with the team is lost.  Perhaps, he wonders, big life lessons are missing from dance that are found in and on other teams...?    

You see, as a child he was in traditional sport.  Baseball, basketball and football.  He gained and found confidence through them.  They were a part of his life experience.  

Not so much mine.

I myself, never really hit it off with any typical sport when I was a child.  I did play soccer for a couple years and liked it.  Even learned from it.  But I never felt any real pull toward any particular team sport so I didn't do one.

And in turn... I was a bit lost.

Until I found Cheerleading.  Which, of course also... was always debated:


See me? I'm the center, bottom line.  That was at Loyola Marymount University... during a quick timeout at a basketball game.  We worked hard.  Almost as hard as the players, I'd say.  And what I learned was at or far beyond what any "traditional" sport could have taught me - since those didn't really suit who I was or what my skills were.

In high school and college Cheer, not only did I learn how to dance fairly well... but I learned responsibility, time management, leadership, communication (it was CHEERleading for goodness sakes), it taught me confidence, organization, dedication, team work, I could go on and on and on.

True, no one gave me a pat on the butt for my perfect toe touch, we never won a "tournament" with a high score and I did not receive any trophies.  Oh wait, yes I did!  We also had uniforms, a captain, a coordinator, a travel budget, we received letterman jackets and had our own year end banquets.

It was a sport.  It was MY sport.


Today, my daughter is on a competitive dance team, the "company," with her dance studio and they go to multiple dance competitions throughout the year in our home state of Arizona.  Here is one of their routines from this past weekend.  Watch it... I happen to love this one and they placed in the competition with it:


This year they also went to Disneyland to dance and next year they'll head to Las Vegas.  They practice 8 hours on 3 days of each week almost year around... they are 7 and 8 years old.  If you ask, I'll bet any one of them they would say "heck yea - dance is a sport!"

And maybe by pure definition it is...


Meantime, my little girl continues to golf, will look into the traditional sport of softball and dances  with the company.  All of them, in my humble opinion, are sports in their own ways.  She will learn differently and greatly from each one of them.  Just like your children are learning from their respective sport.

So I guess in the end, whether or not you think dance is a sport really depends upon the person you're talking to...



and then again, maybe it doesn't really matter.

What do you think?  What sports do your children do?  How are they thriving?  And why do you encourage it?