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The Spirit of Sports: How American College Students Develop Grit Through Athletics

  If you have the opportunity to ask American college students why they are so keen on sports, they will definitely look at you in surprise: “Ah, sports are everything! Without sports, what is the meaning of life?” When visiting American universities, this feeling became Especially true.
  On the day of my visit to Arizona State University, the weather was very hot and it was almost noon when I arrived on campus. The sun was scorching so hard that everyone was out of breath, and they all complained that they couldn’t see many people at this time, and all the students should be sleeping in the dormitory. While he was worrying, a burst of hearty laughter suddenly came from the opposite side, and several beautiful girls with tall figures, toned complexions and swimsuits came towards them. After asking, I found out that he was on the school swimming team. The girls were also happy to communicate with us and told us that we would be training soon and that we would train several times a week, rain or shine. It can be seen that they all like sports from the bottom of their hearts. High-intensity physical training not only makes them energetic, but also gives them confidence to constantly challenge higher goals. In the end, they proudly told us that their goal was an Olympic medal, and that their swimming coach was the American Olympic swimming legend Phelps, known as “Flying Fish”. It turns out that if a university swimming team can hire such a high-level coach, you can imagine the professional level of the girls.
  The Ohio State University, known as one of the “Public Ivy Leagues,” is a prestigious school with a long history. The sports venues cover a large area, many students participate in sports, and the enthusiasm for sports is high. The horseshoe-shaped open-air stadium built by the school in 1922 was the largest stadium in the world at the time. It could accommodate 110,000 people at the same time and was larger than the “Bird’s Nest” in Beijing. In addition, the school also has a comprehensive sports center for ordinary students. The internal facilities are quite complete, with more than 2,000 treadmills and two indoor swimming pools. The gym has different functional areas where every student can participate. In a university that values ​​sports so much, it’s no surprise that dozens of Olympic gold medalists have been produced.
  The United States does not have a national training team, and most athletes participating in the Olympics are recruited and trained from universities. American college students have won medals in the Olympics that many countries cannot even dream of. College students have contributed to half of the U.S. Olympic medals.
  You may ask, does this kind of sportsmanship have anything to do with university research and academics? It is no exaggeration to say that Western civilization, which originated in ancient Greece, is mainly composed of two major traditions: one is the scientific spirit of exploring the mysteries of nature; the other is the Olympic spirit of cultivating fair competition. Today’s world-class universities have inherited these two traditions, emphasizing both the cultivation of sportsmanship and the advancement of scientific research. The two complement each other. Many world-class universities do not have dedicated sports colleges or sports departments, but students must take physical education courses and integrate the Olympic spirit into students’ daily activities and competitions. These universities have sports enthusiasts or students specializing in sports. Students who are good at sports are scattered in various departments. They attend classes and study with other students. They also have to pass various examinations without any special care.
  On American campuses, whether it is early in the morning or late at night, you can see college students participating in sports everywhere on the playground, in the arena, and in the gym. They believe that no matter what career they pursue in the future, they must have a strong will. A strong will often requires a strong body, and the competition allows them to learn teamwork and the rules of the game.
  The surface of sports is a strong body, but the core of sports is actually a kind of spirit, which is the endless struggle to always pursue faster, higher, and stronger, the self-confidence and growth of continuous self-transcendence, and the persistence to the end and never give up. A strong will is a smooth road to self-achievement and self-realization—this may be the real reason why sports on American college campuses are so crazy.

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