Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Let's Talk About Sports

I've only been out of high school for 4.5 years but I don't ever remember my days or our entire community being controlled by high school athletics. Never do I schedule any meeting without consulting the school calendar first. I do believe that it is important, especially in a rural community for the community to stand behind and support our youth, but the fact that the only obvious way the community supports our youth is through sports is disappointing.

 Sports teach kids valuable lessons such as hard work and teamwork, there's no doubt about that. However, today's kids or parents are more willing to let a kid slack off when it comes to sports and school rather than cracking down and toughening up to make them stick it out. So the opportunities for them to learn valuable lessons from athletics are shot, if the kid doesn't stick it out. Sports are important for learning hard work and teamwork, but those traits can be learned through having a job after school, working on school projects or being a part of an intellectual/career based club. The chances of a high school athlete becoming a college star or pro athlete are pretty slim. I don't want to discourage any youth that has that as a goal or dream but in all reality as the NCAA commercial says, most of our student-athletes will go pro in something other than sports. My proposal is to get more students thinking about jobs and businesses they want to see in our community and being part of a club or class to learn about entrepreneurship. I know that entrepreneurship is not for everyone, but if youth don't even know that it is an option and that we want them to come home, nothing will ever change. If adults in our rural communities were more willing to reach out to youth and support them in FFA activities or the performing arts or arts in general or entrepreneurship and pursuing their dreams to come home, our lives might not revolve around athletics. I'm torn because as a student-athlete in high school I couldn't have survived high school without sports, but I was also involved in community development, student council and learned about entrepreneurship. I think I'm tired of seeing the pressure put on youth from a young age...atleast 9 years old that the only way they amount to anything or will be successful is if they're on the team. It's certainly important but we can't discount or ignore those kids who's passion and niche lies other than on the court. Our students might not be put down by little mistakes on the basketball court, but built up because they're following their dreams that are developed off the court.

What was your experience as a high schooler whether you were from a rural community or a big city? Did your community and life revolve around sports or were activities outside athletics held in high regard?

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