The winter holiday season is my favorite time of the year. I think many people would agree with me on this statement. However, my reasons for loving this time of year may differ slightly from most. I love the holiday cheer, the time with family, and the kindness that seems to come with the season. But to me, this time of year means so much more.

I’ve spent the last 23 years coaching basketball and teaching exercise and fitness. The winter holiday season, more so than any other time of year, reminds me of the value of sport and fitness.

We all know what comes with the holiday season — lots of eating, drinking, and being merry. For me, and many others, part of being merry involves watching sports. It may be watching your children or family members play in a holiday tournament. It may be the annual Thanksgiving football games that many people watch on television. Among my personal favorites are the countless college football bowl games.

Chad Jones is a professor of exercise and sports science and head women’s basketball coach at Lincoln Land Community College.

Whatever it may be, sport brings us together in ways few other things can. As a college basketball coach, I spend countless hours in gyms over the holiday season. I am amazed yearly at the support given to local high school athletes. I love hearing the stories of “back in the day” that go with the tradition of holiday tournament play. I remember my own experience as a player like it was yesterday. To me, and many others, the holiday season and sports go hand in hand.

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