Remember when you first started playing sports as a kid. You did it because it was fun. Most likely a member of your family (mom, dad, grandma, grandpa, or older sibling) first taught you the sport because they wanted to have fun playing it with you.
Remember, that’s how it started: for fun.
Then you started watching more sports on TV or in-person. You found some favorite teams or athletes and you started idolizing them, pretending to (and later aspiring to) be like them.
While there are great examples of positive role models, along the way some athletes and coaches can let kids down by breaking rules (or worse, laws), often because winning becomes everything and/or there is too much money at stake. Unfortunately, the mainstream media tend to focus more on these negative aspects of organized sports than on the many positive aspects of athletic participation. This can take some of the fun out of playing sports for young athletes.
(Sometimes it almost seems like the word “athlete” has been co-opted by the press to mean someone who is only playing sports to get rich, and sometimes cheats to win at all costs.)
PLAYING FROM THE HEART
If you look back at the invention of most sports, they were created on a street, driveway or playground, in a field or yard. They were invented for the fun of it, not make the participants rich and famous. They were created so people could do something fun, either on their own or with friends and family. It was for the love of playing.
Even though it isn’t emphasized much these days, this positive aspect of sports participation is still very much alive, especially at a grassroots level. I see it in how kids like my son and his friends love playing various sports together on their own time, just for the pure fun and camaraderie of it. This approach aligns with the origin of sports, but we don’t hear about it much from today’s sports industry.
That’s why I wanted to start this new sportswear brand with my son when he came up with the name Streetletes, a twist on the word athletes, to describe people who play sports for these authentic reasons. I see it as an opportunity to build a community of people who play sports from the heart and to focus the dialog on the fun and positively of sports at every level.