To many, sports is an essential component in the “high school experience.” But at what point do both students AND parents take it too far? Believe it or not, a strong academic resume bestows much more importance than how many touchdowns were scored, or baskets made. Believe me, I myself am an athlete and think that sports are great. It’s a great way to interact with your peers, exercise regularly, and learn an abundance of life lessons. However I put my grades and performance at school much higher on my priorities list than how many shots I can hit in practice or in a game.
At the University of North Carolina, sixty percent of basketball and football players read at an eighth-grade level, and eight to ten percent read at or below a third grade level. You can make excuses for these players if you’d like, but the reality is many of these players did not use their education to their advantage. Even worse, when they arrive to some of the great schools of the country, they still refuse to apply themselves. Think of it this way, these uneducated players are filling the slots for students who meet more requirements, and are simply much more qualified. Personally, the more I think of this the more frustrated I become.
Don’t take me wrong, I have a firm belief in a well-balanced student. I just can’t bring myself to compromise personal academic standards to be a “star” or be known around the school. Sure, it may be a juggling act to stay balanced. However in case you didn’t already know, everyone has a busy schedule. We are not doing anybody a favor by continuing to lower our standards, especially not at a collegiate level.
We make those who take academics seriously out to be “nerds.” There seems to be an everlasting negative connotation to that word. In today’s culture and in the minds of high school students especially, it’s not “cool” to do well in school. Failing a test is now funny, and something you have to tell everyone because it somehow makes you “cool.” What’s cool to me is to rise above what is expected of us. What’s cool is to continuously question where we are at as young adults, but more importantly the future of America.
I know it may not be exciting to show ALL your work in geometry, or heavily analyze the “classics” in English. But I can promise that hard work pays off. Cliche? Sure. But sports are hobbies and school is your job. If you plan on living a life of purpose and of achievement, make it a job well done.