High School Sports Debate


High school sports can create memories for athletes and fans that live on forever. They give us movies like Remember the Titans, Bring It On, Varsity Blues, and Friday Night Lights. They also cost “an arm and a leg,” and when school boards are strapped for cash, sports could be the first thing to go. High school sports can also lead to various scandals both on and off the field. Our Intro to Sports Administration students debate the pros and cons of high school sport in this week’s blog. Check out a few responses below.

By: Emily DeWaters

It is easy to say that there are both pros and cons to sports in high school. It is harder to say whether or not the pros outweigh the cons. People are going to argue for both sides, solely depending on their story and the experiences they have had or heard. For me I can argue my story, while still being very mindful of others and the things that occur in other places, which is important. I think sports, if facilitated correctly are more of a pro than a con.

In my experience high school sports are a great tool. They give children a safe place to go and keep busy after school, where they make friends and learn great life lessons. There are many opportunities outside of sports to steer kids down the wrong path or make them lose focus. With that being said there will be some overlap there where bad things do happen within sports. In MY opinion the number of kids that are helped and benefited positively are much higher than those effected by “bad sports experiences.”

There are a number of scandals that happen every year, on the playing fields, in the locker rooms, and involving teams. However, there are also a number of things going on outside the sports world. The benefit of a sports program is it offers a support system for when things do go wrong. It is a safe place to go where you can be trusted and forgiven. No other system in the world is like a sports system and that is something kids would be truly missing out on if high school sports did not exist.

For me sports made me a better person, especially in high school. High school is a time when everyone is different and going through these confusing stages. Having a group of people you have to put up with, get along with, and make time for every day teaches you a number of lessons.  Being a student was never who I was being a student-athlete was. And to me growing up there was a huge difference.

Lessons you learn in high school sports are some of the best. I have and hope my kids have a chance to learn and grow and be better because of a sports team or program they are a part of. Being a student-athlete is challenging and tricky and not always glamourous but my side of the story is it was the best thing that has happened to me, and I am sticking to it.

By: Christopher Mackinder

Medicine comes in all shapes and sizes. There are pills and liquids. There are electromagnetic treatments and aromatherapy. There is exercise and meditation. There are also high school athletics.

While it might seem absurd, high school athletics are every bit as medicinal to adolescent boys and girls as chemotherapy is to a cancer patient. In this example, however, the medicine isn’t targeting a disease, rather it is targeting life’s struggles.

A certain segment of the population, usually elitists who live in a non-diverse, affluent-only area, view school as an easy, transitory part of every child’s life. From outside of this bubble is the reality: many students describe high school as a baneful part of their lives and can’t wait for its conclusion. I talked with a former student and asked him about the importance of high school athletics. His response didn’t surprise me, but would pop a certain population group’s bubble.

Now playing baseball at Lawrence Tech University, Stewie Weber was quite candid. “I hated school,” he said. “Without football and baseball, I might have dropped out.” It wasn’t as if Weber wasn’t intelligent (he was quite smart); rather, it was the traditional high school model that wasn’t for him. Rolling into my first hour class at 7:59 a.m., one minute before class officially started, he wasn’t thinking about English that day; He was counting down the minutes until 2:51 when school ended and he could walk to the baseball field and warm up for the day’s game. Because of athletics, Weber not only made it through high school but was able to procure an athletic scholarship. The alternative? Weber’s disdain for school leads to him dropping out at 16 with a bleak future.

Research proves those who argue students like Weber, the the elimination of high school athletics and a complete focus on academics would be better, wrong. “…an emphasis on athletic success and participation is associated with high scores on standardized tests and higher graduation rates” (Bowen and Greene, 2001).

The argument that South Korea and Finland, some of the higher academically-achieving countries in the world, benefit from not having high school athletics is asinine (Ripley, 2013). Vietnam is a low-achieving country that does not have high school athletics. Proponents of eliminating high school sports won’t tell you that, however, because many facts don’t fit their narrative.

In our cut-throat society of everyone needs a college education to not only succeed in life but to have any shot at a comfortable, decent lifestyle, why would the thought of eliminating high school athletics even be discussed? If communities, school district superintendents, administrators, and parents are really concerned with the well being of their kids, there would be a push to shift some money from the overall budget, money that will likely be spent on new forms of technology that will be outdated (and replaced) in a few years, toward athletics. It would save lives. Remember, sports is a medicinal cure for many of today’s youth.

By: Cole Prophet

As the Amateur Athletic Union in sports is growing so big there is much discussion on if there is any more value in high school sports. There is still great value in high school sports. High school sports has a small percentage of athletes who get an athletic scholarships to universities but why so many students sign up to play? As a former athlete and current high school basketball coach I see the value of athletics for high school students first hand. Many parents see high school sports as a gateway for young adults to being successful in the job market. It’s not all about who wins and who loses. Playing high school sports is much bigger than that.

Playing for a team at the ages of 14-18 are very vital. High schools athletes on the cusp of adulthood learn the values of life through sports, it teaches you not to be selfish, work hard, listening, following directions, and the benefits of knowing what it takes to win. Also the discipline it takes in striving to be successful. Helps time management with academics and athletics, important skills you need to be successful as an adult.

Take me for example. Growing up I was from a single parent household. I got into trouble a lot during my teen ages. Playing high school sports saved my life. I learned disciplined, hard work, and time management through a team environment. I was fortunate enough to get a full athletic scholarship at Wayne State University to play basketball. I would have never got that opportunity if it wasn’t for high school sports.



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