Summit Denali community is changed because of sports

By Srinand Mudunuri

Staff Writer

Summit Denali special services teacher and basketball coach Stephen Kirk, who started playing basketball and practicing martial arts at seven, talked about how his life was impacted by sports and how it has helped him change. “After seeing the faces of the parents and students at the senior night game, it made me feel like I was doing something special, and that was what motivated me to continue coaching,”  Kirk said.

Summit Denali special services teacher Stephen Kirk PHOTO CREDIT: Srinand Mudunuri

Along with coaching his students, Kirk’s other reasons for sports being a huge factor in his life included his love of physical activity, his desire to stay fit, his love for competitiveness and much more. 

According to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, 19.3% of the U.S. population was engaged in sports and exercise each day in 2021. Also according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, children participating in sports were found to total almost 63% of the population of kids under the age of 18 in 2021.

Summit Denali freshman Michael Dayrit PHOTO CREDIT: Srinand Mudunuri

Summit Denali freshman Michael Dayrit, an avid fan of many sports such as basketball, tae-kwon-do and swimming, revealed how sports changed his life for the better. His life became much busier after joining leagues and clubs for the sports he plays.

“As a kid, I loved watching athletes in the NBA compete. And so as I grew I strived to play in a league like that, and through countless hours of practice that I go to in a week, causing myself to have a very busy schedule, I feel like I would be able to achieve these goals,” Dayrit said.

Dayrit spends about 15-20 hours per week attending swimming practices, tae-kwon-do lessons and playing basketball at school and at the park. His reasoning to play sports is fairly simple and it branches off of his love for physical activity and his drive to be a winner.

As per U.S. Health Department and Manhattan Medical Arts, playing sports can help people in many different ways, such as helping children build many crucial social skills like cooperation, as well as helping people everywhere find a sense of belonging within some kind of group or organization. 

Summit Denali freshman Aaron Palos PHOTO CREDIT: Srinand Mudunuri

Sports also help keep people healthy, by improving their heart function, controlling blood sugar levels, and relieving tensions and stress. Physical activity from playing sports can help people maintain a healthy life, and helps them reduce their risk of disease.

As per the Department of Local Government, Sport and Culture Industries, communities that participate in sport and recreation develop strong social bonds are safer places and the people who live in them are generally healthier and happier than places where physical activity isn’t a priority. Sport and recreation build stronger, healthier, happier and safer communities.

Summit Denali freshman Aaron Palos has played sports such as baseball, soccer and football since a young age and played on teams in recreational leagues as well. “Sports have always been a major source of entertainment for me, and it is fun to play against my friends and win in my leagues,” Palos said.

Featured Image (at the top of the post): Sports can be essential to our lives PHOTO CREDIT: Srinand Mudunuri

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