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Sports in High School: Do They Really Matter?

Found+on+the+BHS+Twitter+feed%2C+and+taken+by+BHS+staff+member+Holly+Boisjolie
Found on the BHS Twitter feed, and taken by BHS staff member Holly Boisjolie

Found on the BHS Twitter feed, and taken by BHS staff member Holly Boisjolie

Found on the BHS Twitter feed, and taken by BHS staff member Holly Boisjolie

Falagbenne Mike Kombate, Blueprint Staff

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“The United States routinely spends more tax dollars per high-school athlete than per high-school math student—unlike most countries worldwide. And we wonder why we lag in international education rankings?”                                                                                                    –an excerpt from “The Case Against High Schools Sports” by Amanda Ripley an article published by “The Atlantic”

It’s long established that sports play a crucial role within high schools, I’d just never thought about it before. That is, not until homecoming. During homecoming, I began to wonder exactly what that role might be. Because in most–if not all–cases, it has no link to education. In fact, it’s possible that our obsession with sports is the reason we’re lagging behind the rest of the world in education.

When I began questioning the overall role of sports, I was having trouble thinking about what role that actually is. The first thing I had to do was identify what role people believe sports play in their high school careers; I decided to ask several of my friends what they thought the role of sports is. I ended up getting the same basic answer from most of them: entertainment. According to the people I asked, sports’ primary goal is entertainment.

I couldn’t understand their answer. I considered it, but I just couldn’t see it. Think about it, the purpose of sports in high school can’t be something as simple as entertainment. In this day and age, we have technology at our beck and call, leaving entertainment just a few taps away. While it can be argued that purpose of entertainment is supposed to be a way of passing time, and sports definitely serve that purpose, I argue that sports might be considered entertainment in the context of high school, but they serve a higher function than simply being a pastime too.

After spending way more time than I should’ve thought about this, I finally came up with another question to myself: if the purpose of sports is not to entertain, and people can’t give me another sufficient answer, then do sports really matter? I came to the answer of yes and no; yes when it comes to high school and no when it comes to its general role in life.

Sports are a defining part of life in high school because they help curb high strung teens of their homicidal nature. While I might’ve been being a slightly hyperbolic in wording it that way, that is the inherent answer I reached. By saying that I mean that sports are a key part of the high school experience because they keep the high school experience tolerable if not enjoyable. Overall, my premise in saying all that is to say that I believe sports are the major unifying factor in high school.

They’re a unifying factor because sports generate a sense of pride within the student body; a pride generated and grown by every victory, every award, and every record. It’s that pride that holds the student body together whether they know it or not. Without it, high school might very well become what some perceive it to be, “Hell.”

I make this claim because just looking at the crowd that showed up to the homecoming pepfest I can tell you that a majority of people there couldn’t have possibly cared less. But they were there not only because they were dragged by friends but because of their pride, because everyone wants their school to do well and for some reason, sports teams are seen to be the avatars/images of schools. So people root for the team because if the team does well that means your school is good, and if your school is good by some magical transitive property you are good because you attend the school.

Sports also serve an additional key purpose in that they’re an outlet, for what I haven’t exactly been able to put a name on it yet; but sports allow for its release or reduction. Either way, I’ve noted it as a form of energy/hyperactivity that teens have and need to be released in some way, some form. Without that release, it just gets built up and there’s only so much that it can be added up to before it begins to leak out in undesirable expressions of unrest among the student body.

In belief, without the output caused by sports, I believe that it would be expressed in people being a lesser version of themselves in high school. Without the release, we’d have meaner and ruder comments, more outbreaks of violence, and overall even worse academic performance. The only reason I believe these things to be true is that at this point in our lives a majority of the school population is already contaminated with this reliance on sports to vent their energy and thereby keep the social order, which I can’t exactly complain about.

In fact, I should probably attend a game or pepfest in the near future lest I complete my homework only a day in advance.

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Sports in High School: Do They Really Matter?