International Day Of Sport For Development And Peace: How Sports Can Be More Inclusive

As a child, I strongly disliked gym class. 

Whenever it was time to go to the gym, I would always throw a fit and try to avoid the class as much as possible. The games weren’t that fun because we rarely played the sports I enjoyed.

Every game felt like a competition. It was always, “Whoever gets the most points wins!” or “Whoever misses the first shot is out!” 

When I grew older, I suddenly found myself working in a recreational setting, teaching children dance and sports. 

It wasn’t what I expected until I finally realized it wasn’t the games that I disliked from gym class, but the way the class was delivered. 

I noticed that if gym class was less competitive, more children would’ve enjoyed the activities and partook in them. This would have led more children to perceive physical activities as fun instead of a never-ending competition. 

The United Nations has realized this as well, and decided to mark April 6 as the International Day of Sport for Development and Peace. The day celebrates the role of physical activity in shaping community development and social change. Some of the issues the UN aims to address are education, health, social inclusion, youth development, gender equality, and sustainable development. 

These issues are all applicable to society nowadays. 

Due to us being in a technological age, most of our activities are now conducted through a device. Whether we play video games, browse social media, or film TikTok videos, we may find ourselves disconnecting from our own communities. However, when playing cooperatively, sports can allow us to interact with the other people around us. 

After all, sports is more than just competition. It’s a way for people to get together and work toward a healthy, active future. But with the amount of world championship events and sports-related contests out there, it can be hard to perceive sports in such a manner. 

However, here are some ways you can begin to change the perspective and participate in sports within your community in a non-competitive manner: 

1. Try out a sport at a local recreation center 

Go to a location recreation center and ask for its drop-in schedule. In the schedule, there will be different sports in different time slots. See which sports they have and feel free to drop in whenever you have some availability. You’ll make new friends and interact with locals in your community. 

2. Take a dance class 

Dance is a sport after all. If you’re not comfortable maneuvering different equipment at first, you can begin with a dance class. It will be loads of fun for music fans. Plus, it’s a nice alternative to a cardio workout.  

3. Support local sports teams

Instead of going to competitions, you can support smaller teams by participating in events. The team doesn’t have to be as big as the Yankees or the Raptors; any small, local team will work. And the impact can go a long way. 

4. Incorporate sports into your daily life 

This sounds tricky at first. But don’t sweat – it’s actually more simple than you thought. Instead of commuting, try cycling or walking to work. And during work, you can play sports as an icebreaker activity to get to know your colleagues. Even if you’re playing monkey in the middle, that counts. 

5. During the Olympics, don’t get too caught up with the countries

We all make this mistake, but the purpose of the Olympics is to have countries from all over the world come together and engage in a friendly competition. So instead of cheering on our own country, we should admire the skills and hard work of all athletes who made it through the trials. 

The media portrays sports as a form of competition amongst different teams. However, sports is more than just a competition. It’s a way for participants to build friendships and encourage each other. So, beyond April 6, we should perceive sports as a method of community engagement and social inclusion. 

Gym class never tells us how sports can build friendships. Instead, it forces us to measure our skills against others’. But as young children, we shouldn’t be taught that this is the definition of sports. Because after all, we’re one team. 

Photo by Pavel Danilyuk:


  1. Isn’t it wonderful that so much is devoted to sports? If handled properly, it can bring in money out of thin air.


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