Parents don’t sustain, kids don’t gain
The students of MVHS each thrive at their own interests. Whether it be academically, socially or artistically, we all have something that we excel at. But for those who consider athletics to be their advantage, how difficult must it be to prosper while against one of the most powerful of forces, our own parents?In numerous instances, MVHS parents have been accused of pushing their kids too much and getting too involved in their kid’s academic careers Although this involvement is sometimes unhealthy, support from parents can often make a huge difference in a child’s success. While it’s easy to find parents supporting their kids in academic activities, most MVHS students can agree that support towards athletics is much harder to find.
A common parental philosophy, especially at MVHS, is that children who participate in sports are unable to manage their time efficiently and successfully tackle their school work. Many of our friends, classmates and fellow staff members are often forced to stop participating in athletics because their parents are convinced their grades will suffer. Philosophies like this may perpetuate stereotypes like the “dumb jock.” Many parents and students believe that having athletic commitments outside of school force students to give up other important parts of their lives.
And while it’s is true that participating in athletics can be a significant time commitment, research has shown that academics is not one of the areas that is negatively impacted by this lack of time. According to an analysis of high school students in Kansas during the 2008-2009 school year, students who participate in sports had higher GPAs with over 80% of athletes reporting a 3.0 GPA or higher compared to only 69.5% of nonathletes reporting the same GPA. Still, some parents believe that sports are no more than a hinderance to their student’s academic success and only prevents their children from getting into college.
By examining research and our own personal experiences as athletes and teammates, we believe the fear of athletics consuming time that would otherwise be dedicated to academics is irrational, especially at such an academically-focused school like MVHS. We believe that MVHS students can benefit from increased participation in athletics, a reality that many parents don’t support. Parents should be more accepting of and supportive towards their children playing sports as it’s shown to benefit students academically, socially and physiologically.
Rather than hindering students’ academic performance, participating in sports has been linked to higher success in school. According to a study conducted by the Los Angeles Unified School District, the 35,000 athletes in the district attended school an average of 21 more days than non-athletes and had GPAs .55 to .74 higher than non-athletes.
The 35,000 athletes in the district attended school an average of 21 more days than non-athletes and had GPAs .55 to .74 higher than non-athletes.
A study found that exercise led to a decrease in suicidal tendencies. The study suggests that this may be because of the physical aspect of athletics: working out releases endorphins that lead to increased feelings of happiness.
Engaging in a sport can delay or even potentially prevent high blood pressure, and is also highly correlated with a reduction in the possibility of developing various kinds of cancer.
Parents are often times so focused on the academic effects of participating in sports that they forget that athletics can prove rewarding in other important aspects of a student’s life. Playing a sport, being part of a team and learning outside of the classroom environment can teach kids important social skills.
In a research paper published by the National Institute of Health, author Donna L. Merkel explains studies in which male and female athletes were less likely to engage in smoking, drug-taking, carrying weapons than non-athletes. A 2009 research project by the Women's Sports Foundation yielded similar results; rates of teen pregnancy, unprotected intercourse and substance abuse were lower in female athletes while feelings of self-confidence and satisfaction with body image were higher.
Especially here at MVHS, playing a sport acts as an outlet for students who are stressed and worried, a time where they can forget about the rest of their problems and focus on something productive. Taking a break from school and interacting with friends while exercising is a much better alternative than drugs and alcohol, and this respite from stress is yet another reason why parents should support their kids’ athletic ventures.
Moreover, the 2005 Youth Risk Behavior Survey showed that exercise led to a decrease in suicidal tendencies. The study suggests that this may be because of the physical aspect of athletics: working out releases endorphins that lead to increased feelings of happiness. The results can also be credited to the support and bonds formed from participating in a team, proving that the benefits of participating in athletics spread far wider than the classroom environment.
Playing a sport can help students lead healthier social lives and improve their mental health. In a stressful, competitive environment like MVHS, these social benefits are especially important. Students’ happiness and well-being are just as important as their grades, and by supporting their children in athletics, parents can help ensure that their kids are both socially and academically successful.
Along with the numerous social and academic advantages that it provides, athletics also help to keep students physically healthier. According to the Aspen Institute, participating in athletics keeps help students maintain their peak mental and physical health. Playing sports helps build bone strength and develops the muscles and joints. According to a comprehensive study and analysis conducted by The National Institute of Health, engaging in a sport can delay or even potentially prevent high blood pressure, and is also highly correlated with a reduction in the possibility of developing various kinds of cancer.
Athleticism also helps to reduce chances of obesity, which remains a pressing issue in the US, as around 33 percent of American children are considered obese. Most doctors recommend around 75 minutes of exercise a week to maintain a healthy weight. By being an athlete, students not only meet but exceed their quota of healthy exercise time, translating to longer and healthier lives.
Research has proven time and time again that sports help students far more than they could possibly hurt them. Parents who stop their children from participating in sports are essentially preventing their children from reaching their full academic, social and physical potential. Many students at MVHS find a safe haven from pressure and stress by playing a sport — a haven where they can form close friendships, learn leadership, cooperation and time-management skills and stay healthy.
It’s understandable why some think sports are a waste of time —they take up time and effort that could easily be devoted to studying. But in the end, sports teach us that our high school lives aren’t about getting from point A to point B. They’re about getting from point A to point B while remaining academically, socially and physiologically healthy. If parents encourage their children to pursue their athletic aspirations, they ultimately are encouraging their child to thrive.