Do Sports Build Character, or Damage It?: Mark Edmundson, a University of Virginia English professor, asks the question through the lens of his own experience as a mediocre high school football player: "Over time, I came to understand that the objective of the game, on the deepest level, wasn't to score spectacular touchdowns or make bone-smashing tackles or block kicks. The game was much more about practice than about the Saturday-afternoon contests. And practice was about trying to do something over and over again, failing and failing, and then finally succeeding part way. Practice was about showing up and doing the same drills day after day and getting stronger and faster by tiny, tiny increments, and then discovering that by the end of the season you were effectively another person" (via MetaFilter).