The Jetstream Journal

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High School Athletics: Are They Hurtful or Helpful?

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High School Athletics: Are They Hurtful or Helpful?

An image containing sports equipment. Students have to be careful to not let athletics overtake their academics!

An image containing sports equipment. Students have to be careful to not let athletics overtake their academics!

An image containing sports equipment. Students have to be careful to not let athletics overtake their academics!

An image containing sports equipment. Students have to be careful to not let athletics overtake their academics!

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We all have experienced the thrill of watching our favorite athletes pull off an amazing comeback, or seal the deal with a score in the waning seconds of a game. In high school, many students take advantage of the opportunity to fill that role themselves. In several ways, it is an enriching experience, but what effect does it have on academics?

Being involved in a sport at school helps you branch out and meet people with similar interests that you might not have met otherwise. The added sense of community within teams is one of the most enjoyable parts of playing a sport.

As sophomore Nick Goetzmann said, “It’s cool to be a part of something that’s bigger than you are. It gets you involved in the school and is a lot of fun.”  

According to football coach Scott Grinde, “You will have the best friends of your life playing a sport.”

Building a community is also an essential part of the AAHS football team. The coaches try to bring in guest speakers for team meetings at least once a week. Every summer, the team also goes to a three day football camp. In Grinde’s opinion, the companionship of the team is one of the most important things in high school sports.

“The camaraderie with your teammates is irreplaceable,” said Grinde, “You’ll never replicate that again in your life.”

Along with providing an outlet for companionship, sports/physical activity have proven to heighten cognitive brain function, concentration, and self esteem. A 2002 study shows that students who scored higher on a standardized athletics test generally scored higher on standardized academics test. Sports also improve organization and time management skills in students. The schedule that sports have is usually very structured, which sets an example for students in their own time management. These skills can help athletes handle the increased workload.

Grinde emphasized his point that the values you learn in football such teamwork and respect don’t go away, so doing a sport sets a moral precedent for your whole life.

While high school sports are without a doubt enriching and beneficial, there is another side to the story. The added workload can lead to increased stress, less sleep, and in some cases poor academic performance. In some sports, such as diving, practices can last until 10 p.m. The schedule can be chaotic and hard to plan around. When asked how she plans with a sometimes unpredictable schedule, Sophmore Hayley Pingel said,

“You don’t, I have a planner and a mom that tells me which practices are when, so I just wing it.”  

Sometimes winging it means putting off schoolwork.

When asked about putting off schoolwork, Goetzmann said,

“Probably about every day. But I like to use study halls to catch up on homework.”

The Nationwide Children Hospital claims that teenagers need about nine hours of sleep a day, but sports can become a roadblock to those precious hours by pushing back your schoolwork into late ours of the night. In the words of Pingel,

“Sometimes a teacher decides to assign a ton of homework due the next class and I have to stay up really late, even until 3 a.m. ”

 This lack of sleep can lead to slower thought processes, lack of concentration, and can ultimately make learning more difficult.

The sports programs try to combat this and keep kids accountable. Every two weeks when they run grade checks, students with a D or an F are ruled ineligible to play. The programs even offer tutoring for players who need extra help.

“I expect the same level of effort in the classroom as I do on the football field,” said Grinde.

Even though there is added pressure, the general trend shows that people who play sports excel in the classroom as well. Grinde believes that you can do both. With just a little extra effort, student athletes can have a successful and enriching high school experience.

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About the Writer
Christian Alvis, Journalist

Hey, I'm Christian Alvis. I'm a Sophmore at AAHS and this is my first year writing for the Jetstream Journal, but hopefully not my last!

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High School Athletics: Are They Hurtful or Helpful?