When speaking to high school seniors who have participated in athletics, the question often asked is: “what will you miss most about your involvement in high school athletics?” Almost always the response is: experiencing the values of hard work, fair play, and working in harmony with teammates. As we meet with parents to start the fall athletic season let’s look at a few things that we can share with them.
Education based athletics are more than a win-loss record. The end should not the college athletic scholarship. In the pursuit of excellence we see that individual sacrifice, skill development, team and fair play are some of the many components that student athletes learn and acquire. Fewer than 6% of athletes will go on to play a division one sport at all levels fewer than 3.5% at division 1, and less than 2% go on to the pro ranks from there.
The experience that accompanies participating in a high school sport goes beyond the tangible. Participation encourages decision making, time management, ethical judgement and of course, the instilling of self- confidence that can translate to getting good grades (in order to remain academically eligible to participate). The goal is and should continue to be, how can I as a student/athlete achieve perfection? In the search to attain that perfection one can only improve. No one can achieve that perfection but the effort to try, the need to constantly improve, are the tenets for academic excellence.
So as we start the new season, let us have our parents and student/athletes reflect on the real importance of athletics in high school. We need to remind parents to let those sports programs teach young men and women the skills and attributes that can help in and beyond the classroom. Let us also not forget to remind them that these programs provide fun activities that a young student/athlete can look forward to on a daily basis!