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    Posted March 29, 2014 by
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    Academics vs Sports: In other words, Brain vs Brawn

    A couple of days ago, our school principal appeared on television during our daily "important announcements". Expecting vital information about exams or college admissions, my friends and I sat bolt upright in our classroom and glued our eyes to the idiot box. "Today," he began, with a vocal tone that foreboded something significant, "Today, I need to talk to ya'll (We're from Texas) about school spirit during our football games". I grimaced and exchanged glances with my lab partner who was sitting across from me with an appalled expression on her face. Football game? What about SAT? What about final exams? What about internships? With these questions raging through my mind, I began thinking and researching.
    Statistics show that American public schools have some of the highest numbers of high school dropouts per year. Why was this? I delved further: Private schools and colleges which give less importance to athletic events and "fun" end up having a greater percentage of their students graduate than those whose football teams or basketball teams are district champions. The results were clear. Academics or sports cannot exist without the other being compromised. So here's the real question: which is more important? Should schools focus more on creating the best athletes or the best scholars? Now, by reading the first paragraph and witnessing my reaction to my principal's words, you can probably take an accurate guess on what my stance is. So, here we go.
    Now, consider that there are 5000 students that attend a high school. This school is one that passionately encourages sports and regards academics as somewhat secondary. In such an influential environment, kids are naturally inclined to do what they can to be the most popular, or most socially accepted individual. Therefore, out of these 5000 kids, about 4000 will join a school sports team, be it football, basketball, tennis, etc. That is 80% of the school's student body. Here's the problem with the situation: Being a very competitive athletic environment, our hypothetical high school will reward the most talented sportsmen and induce envy in the ones that are not so competent. So, the less athletic individuals will to an extent start ignoring their grades and work harder and harder to be that ONE star on the baseball or football field. Naturally, their grades will start to suffer. But who cares, right? they're on the school's varsity sports teams. Well, this attitude can be quite detrimental when college admissions roll in. Now, back to numbers. Out of the 4000 "athletes" in school, I would approximate roughly 50 to be genetically predisposed for the sport that they are in (Even this is actually a stretch). So, they will naturally be receiving scholarships to their colleges or choice via their athletic talents. Meanwhile, remember the 1000 kids who did not try out for a sport? They will be attending their colleges of choice because of their unbroken attention towards their grades. So, what about the 3,950 kids who are fairly good at sports and have less than satisfactory grades? They happen to be the jacks of all trades but the masters of none. Therefore, in an athletically superior school, 21% of students ended up going to good colleges, while 79% of them didn't even know what they were going to do with their futures. And this scenario takes into account the assumption that no kids drop out of school. Just imagine! Now, realistically, the conditions wouldn't be this drastic, but they would follow a similar pattern, which they do already.
    You'll probably ask, "Well, wouldn't it be just as bad in a school that focuses solely on academics? What about the kids who are not into studying?" Consider this: School is not the only place from which a child can acquire expertise in sports. There are thousands of teams and clubs that are extracurricular, which will be glad to entertain any student who is interested in pursuing athletics. However, school is the ONLY place which will give students a competent, regular education. Students will be immersed in a first class academic education, while any aspiring athletes can seek coaching during their afterschool hours. In the current situation, sports are taking up students' time in school and after school. This leaves no time for attention towards studying for exams, tests, and quizzes which are vital to students' curricular success. If all schools work in line with the advice presented above, college admissions won't be nearly as depressing. Kids will have the necessary academic credentials to attend good colleges and some athletes can add sports to their already stunning resumes.
    Try to consider my words if you can, and let me know what you think in the comments below!
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