The Benefits of High School Athletics

March 27, 2012
By Etta Copenhagen BRONZE, Cumberland, Maine
Etta Copenhagen BRONZE, Cumberland, Maine
1 article 0 photos 0 comments

Do you remember the Stereotypical jock? He is seen as unintelligent, arrogant, mean, and always aggressive. Despite his good looks, and charm, he also picks on those that do not participate in sports.
Well this generation has shed a new light on the student athlete. Sports have a wide range of benefits for high school and college students. Even with individual sports, students develop a sense of teamwork, hard work and allows students to achieve a new level of commitment and dedication. And at Greely High School, athletics has brought on a new sense of school spirit and pride. Teachers, Coaches, and Students have even become open to sharing their views on how athletics are beneficial to any student.
Teamwork and team commitment is a major benefit of athletics. Players are forced to play and work with a group of kids for an entire season. Junior, Brooks Belisle has found his lacrosse teammates are always dependable, and has found a group of kids that help each other through everything. “Sports has taught me the importance of commitment to a team,” says Brooks, “whenever my teammates need help with anything, school, sports, homework, i’ll be there for them.” Despite his serious tone he also explained, “i’d describe the relationship with my teammates as pretty close, we joke all the time, poke fun at each other, we’re always there talking and having fun.” Kids not only learn to work as a team, they find themselves making close friends, and allowing themselves to integrate with other age groups. When participating in a sport, you see the same team every day for practices, games, and team outings. Teams build strong bonds by learning to trust one another on and off the field, and with trust comes a sense of comradery that cannot be created any other way. Senior Paul Witte says, “i have a good relationship with my teammates. I think you become better friends when you do something with your other than just hang out on the weekends, i’d say it’s more of a brotherhood.” He also mentioned that his closest and most trustworthy friends were also teammates. Especially when the sport becomes time consuming, a high school student’s social life can revolve around their athletics. As for some Greely sports such as Boys Basketball and Lacrosse they even refer to their team as “family.”

Every student at Greely High School has the same expectations, even as a student athlete there is no tolerance for late or less quality school work. Despite the amount of time spent on athletics, students are expected to maintain suitable grades. Many schools have “academic probation” rules, where students must achieve certain grade levels in order to maintain their position on a team. In the Greely High School’s Handbook it states, “A student who receives fewer than four passing grades per quarter in full-time equivalent subjects will be ineligible.” This forces student athletes to develop time management skills. Even while juggling practices and games, they create time to finish their schoolwork. Baseball Coach and History teacher at Greely High School, Coach Soule, uses the phrase, “Getting it done in all aspects of your life.” He preaches this to his players, trying to make them understand that their lives do not only revolve around baseball, and they need to figure out how to manage every aspect of their lives, finding a balance between baseball, to school, friends, and family. When students know they need to maintain their grades to participate in sports they love, it gives them motivation to work hard and succeed academically. Paul notices that he generally achieves higher grades during his sports season, and when asked why he claimed, “if you just have a whole bunch of time to kill then you start to procrastinate and you’re never going to get your stuff done. But if you have like practice or a game, then you have to get your work done .” Students generally find themselves more motivated to do their schoolwork because more intense pressure that subsequently put on them.

Often when meeting a high school student for the first time, it is evident when they are athletes. There is a sort of aura to a player that may come from their sense of commitment, dedication, and respect. Many students find that sports has allowed them to develop key characteristics that will undoubtedly be an advantage to them later in life. One of these major characteristics is respect. Reminiscing about his first year of Greely Baseball, Alex Clark remembers what his coach told him when he came to practice with his hat, backwards, “Freshman year, Coach Kasey, always preached about never wear your hat backwards, because it disrespects the Greely name. It showed me that you’re part of something bigger than yourself and you can’t hold yourself to such high regards or think of yourself before the team.” Along with respect and commitment, students generally find themselves evolving into adults from their involvement in athletics. Paul mentioned one of his favorite lessons in his sports, “I think there are things in sports that you can’t learn in a classroom. It kind of makes you grow up by having experiences with your teammates or your coaches. It makes you kind of learn to become older faster, or just mature.”

Well rounded student athletes have become more and more common among high schools all over the country. And at schools such as Greely High School, that have strong athletic programs, booster groups, and many students with an interest to play, the student body is full of dedicated, respectful, and healthy individuals. Denise Allen, a health teacher and Exercise Physiology instructor at Greely has very high expectations of athletes, and lists: “learning how to cooperate as a team member, taking leadership roles, work together as a team, and communication that has to be involved with working with a team member.” as major advantages to athletics. She also mentions that, “even if it’s an independent sport like cross-country, they’re still working together as a team. They also set individual and group goals, all sorts of intrinsic academics that are cross curricular to the sports world. that those skills can also used in the academic world.”

The author's comments:
This piece was written for my English class. I interviewed coaches, teachers, and students to get their opinions on the benefits of sports at Greely High School.

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