Sports had a huge impact on me. Even when I was sure I was not going to pursue volleyball, basketball, or even rowing at a college level, being a part of a team sport and learning to push myself when I sucked at something made me part of who I am today. (And yes, just got to revisit that when we were up at Lake Placid, and I had to skate-ski for two or three hours every day while being painfully bad at it.) I don't know if this was true for other women, but sports helped me feel like my height and strength could be positives, when otherwise my middle-school self felt awkward about towering over my classmates and insecure about my looks. Learning how to work with teammates to win a game, learning the discipline of practicing a skill until you know how to do it well--I don't know how many hours I spent in our back yard, serving the volleyball at a chalk "X" on the wall--and how to be "coachable"...all very important things that come up on a daily basis, whether or not you're an athlete today.
As Dr. Betsey Stevenson says in the article: “It’s not just that the people who are going to do well in life play sports, but that sports help people do better in life...While I only show this for girls, it’s reasonable to believe it’s true for boys as well.”