Hope Sports was created to help athletes develop an identity off the field. We realized that while becoming a professional athlete was a dream for many, the cost to get there was always higher than expected. The unintended consequences of high-performance sport is that often, the external and internal demands on the individual far exceed what the athlete can handle. The result is that the dream becomes a nightmare…and a mental health crisis.
We set out to help athletes discover a greater purpose in life by developing their non-athletic identities. Since identity forms the foundation of who we are and how we see ourselves in the world, we felt that this was a great place to start.
We build a strong individual identity in a unique way. The foundation of the program is introducing athletes to international service trips where they have the opportunity to help people living in extreme poverty by building a home for a family over the course of two-days. The program works because as the athletes are serving, they’re reinforcing their non-athletic identity. They now become world-changers, servants, leaders, helpers, givers, builders and teammates.
We’re a preventive measure to the mental health crisis and we help athletes in the identity formation stage. It’s a unique approach but it works and it will continue to work as long as coaches, administrators and athletes are willing to venture to Mexico, Costa Rica and the Dominican Republic to reap the rewards.