If I had a nickel for every time I heard someone talk down the role of athletics in high school, there would be a BMW sitting in my parking spot.
They don’t understand why the education system invests a large chunk of change on uniforms, equipment and other necessities for sports teams. They also don’t see the value in organized sports. Not to mention, they often believe the ignorant stereotype that if you excel in athletics, you can’t thrive in the classroom.
There is no debating that the main purpose of high school education is to educate teenagers on mathematics, the English language, history and science. You obviously aren’t going to go anywhere in life without knowing how to read, write and count. But it takes more than brains to thrive in a career. You need smarts, work ethic, confidence, a team-first attitude and character to excel to a high level in any profession.
In high school, the majority of students’ brain evolvement takes place in the classroom, but it also happens in athletics. For example, learning football plays grows a teenager’s memory stamina. Sure, those football plays likely won’t be able to be adapted to other situations off the field, but neither is easily half of the information learned inside the classroom. In fact, the vast majority of knowledge learned in high school isn’t meant to enlighten students with more useful information, rather it’s merely designed to prepare them for a secondary education.
It obviously takes work ethic to study and put in the time to pass assignments. It, however, takes even more work ethic to wake up at 6 a.m. for practice and to spend time working out every day until your body can’t take it anymore. This type of elite work ethic can be translated to a career and will ultimately lead to success – a type of success that wouldn’t have been reached without learning how to put the pedal to the metal in athletics.
Just like work ethic, confidence can be learned in both the classroom and the gym. A different type of confidence is taught in athletics than in the classroom, though. It’s more of a macho confidence that teaches students to go out and take what they want. This type of confidence is essential to thrive in a capitalistic society. You won’t excel in a competitive career if you don’t talk up yourself in the job interview and point out why you would be a better employee than other applicants. In addition, you might have to tell someone to get lost here and there in the work force. If you don’t have a bit of macho confidence, you will get walked all over.
No matter what the team sport, the needs of the many come before the few. This teaches teenagers that personal sacrifices have to be made to excel in a team environment, which the majority of careers are. In addition, most athletes start out at the bottom, playing a limited role, and blossom into a bigger role. This too is a valuable lesson since the same pattern will start out in the work force. Degree or not, you never start out on the top.
Last but not least, strong character is in major demand in our society because few and far between possess it. Character is very hard to build in a classroom because of its bubble-wrap environment. That’s why athletics are extremely important in high school – that is where character is grown. It’s developed when sacrifice is made for little glory such as throwing a block that you know might go unnoticed for your quarterback or blocking a shot in hockey that won’t show up on your stats sheet. In the work place, a person of character puts in the prep work or goes the extra mile behind the scenes that won’t necessarily be noticed. But sooner than later, this type of unselfish attitude grabs the attention of bosses.
All that said, athletics in high school aren’t important because they teach students how to score a basket or throw a spiral. They are vital because it is the work ethic, confidence and character learned on the field, ice, gym floor or diamond that make many athletes successful in their future careers.