It doesn't matter if you were a quarterback or a shortstop, past participation in competitive team sports made participants in a recent analysis winners in the competition for better jobs, according to a recent paper.
Writing in the Journal of Leadership & Organizational Studies,
Kevin M. Kniffin, postdoctoral research associate at Cornell University's Dyson School of Applied Economics and Management, and colleagues found that people who played a varsity high school sport were assumed to be more self-confident, have more self-respect, and demonstrate more leadership than people who took part in other extracurricular activities.
That's not to say Future Farmers of Amercia or drama club don't have value, but the competition there is less of an analog for the real world of competition than a sport, where someone clearly wins and loses.
"Participation in competitive youth sports 'spills over' to occupationally advantageous traits that persist across a person's life," says Kniffin.
Former varsity athletes were also found to have significantly higher pro-social volunteerism and charitable activities. Also, many ex-jock octogenerians parlayed 65-year-old leadership skills into successful management careers – some at the highest level.
"In our study of late-career workers, those who earned a varsity letter more than 50 years ago do demonstrate these characteristics more than others – plus, they donate time and money more frequently than others and possessed great prosocial behavior in their 70s, 80s, and 90s," said Kniffin.