by Tara Parsick
Sports were not always a focus point of the typical high school experience. Children were first required to go to school in 1852, but it would not be for another one hundred years before sports became a fundamental part of high school. Over time, students realized that they had leisure time after school, and decided to fill that void with sports. Kids would play a relaxed game of basketball or casually throw a football around to each other. When this started to become a routine for children after school, parents started to demand their kids had adult supervision. Thus, organized sports with a coach and official roster began to take place. In 1939, Little League Baseball was formed, which was one of the first sport activities for kids on a national level. The teams had one common goal, to compete for victory.
Competition is the basis for everything in high school, especially when it comes to sports. From the atmosphere at a football game to the pep talks coaches give the players at every practice, competition is embedded everywhere within high school sports. Many parents claim that there is too much stress put on athletes to win in high school, especially when these athletes are taking hard courses in school. However, sports cannot solely be blamed for every student who competes in high school. Students who are not competing to win a game may be fighting for the class rank they desire or even persuading others to vote for them as class president.
There are many proven benefits for high school students that compete in sports. Educational professors Thomas Good and Jere Brophy argued, “Competition encourages engagement, mystery of a task, and a desire to achieve your best. It teaches critical thinking and teamwork.” All of these characteristics are valuable for teenagers because they can take lessons learned in sports to future aspects of their life, like a career. Another important lesson that competition in sports can teach is how to deal with failure. Failure will occur throughout everyone's life, but when it does that just means that the problem needs to be identified and more effort is needed next time. Short run benefits for high school athletes are for those who are ready to take their athletic careers with them to college. As athletes transition through the different levels of a sport, they have to get accustomed to a new level of competition each season. The heightened competitive levels they experienced in high school will brace them for the shock of what level of competition college will have in store. “It keeps athletes on their toes if they are going to play in college and begin to know how to balance school and sports with how competitive the sport can be,” stated Senior Emily Hernandez of the Varsity Girls Softball team. Balancing how to be a good student and a good athlete is an important lesson that they can bring with them to college.
The benefits to competition in high school sports outweighs any downside to it. Students are taught important lessons from competition that can be useful for them to succeed in the future. Parents are too busy sheltering their children that they are blinded by the advantages of competition in high school sports.