Every individual is affected by the glorification of athletics in our society. Not only are children highly encouraged to center their lives around participation in athletics, but even the community as a whole has developed a strong interest in competitive sports. There is a major controversy regarding whether this emphasis on sports is more beneficial or detrimental to the individuals who are subjected to it.
The prevalence of athletics has positively impacted our society. The individual fans have an opportunity to experience the excitement that comes from being involved in an energy that is bigger than themselves. The spirit of the fan base as a whole creates this upbeat environment that enhances a community’s overall dynamic. For example, the atmosphere of the Super Bowl is so incredible that football fans are willing to pay over $2,000 for the opportunity to be a part of it. The commitment that these fans have shown fuels their desire to buy tickets and merchandise. The fan base is so absorbed in the athletic scene that it is a strong market for the advertising industry as well. The financial benefits of sports extend beyond corporate America to the individual, particularly in the field of education. Athletic scholarships give opportunities to students who may not have been able to go to college otherwise. An inner-city student athlete motivated by the possibility of a college scholarship might be less likely to become involved in drugs or gang activity. Scholarships promote and reward positive traits such as discipline, hard work, persistence, dedication and leadership. Athletics are so crucial to our thriving culture that it’s difficult to see them ever being a threat.
Even though the high importance our society places on athletics is beneficial in many ways to the adult population, the most prominent effect is negative because it hurts the youth. Athletics often become more important than academics, which should never be the case because developing an intelligent mind should be a priority above all. There’s a tennis player who goes to GBS named Konrad Zieba who came to school this year after taking mediocre quality online courses for the past three years. School was seen as a distraction to his ultimate goal of heightening his national ranking as a tennis player. To get rid of this issue, he invested as little time as possible into school by taking online courses. He prioritized tennis over school and now that he’s come back to GBS has said he regretted his decision that made him miss out on the first half of high school. Athletics put a disproportionate amount of pressure on students to succeed in this area, instead of schoolwork. Parents make it a goal to have their children gain an athletic scholarship rather than an academic scholarship. The parents often invest enormous sums of money to pay for training that helps their child succeed enough to get a scholarship, rather than investing that same amount of money when tuition time comes. There’s this universal concept that paying to earn a child an athletic scholarship is more rewarding than allowing them to work at whatever other passion they want to in high school and agreeing to pay the tuition for college when that day comes. This suggests over the years the children grow up that success on the field is more important than the progress they make as an intelligent through their work with education. Society are more supportive of children who develop a passion for any type of sport, rather than those who find interest in another area can be looked down upon. Many people who don’t excel in athletics have trouble moving away from the playing field to find a new passion because of this. Maddie Abrahams has been playing soccer for her entire life even though she was born with a severe lack of depth perception. She continued to play soccer even though this was the case, and because of this wasn’t able to discover her passion of journalistic writing until last year. Maddie wasted her time playing a sport that she naturally wasn’t equipped for because she had never invested the time into anything else. Children cannot contribute their gifts to the world if they are solely encouraged to try athletics and never discover their natural talent in other areas. There has come to be too much emphasis on success and not enough on enjoyment. Young idealists form unrealistic dreams of making it far to the professional level. Athletes have invested thousands of hours into the dream of athletic success, sacrificing every other aspect of their lives. Then children are crushed when they’ve reached their athletic potential and can no longer play because competition is too high. The salient issue is that these young dreamers really haven’t formed an alternate path to take in order to complete their pursuit of happiness when their athletic glory days of youth are over. Where does that leave them? They stand in a helpless and inescapable position filled with regret, wishing that they had not focused on athletics as much as they did growing up.
Children need to be encouraged by their parents to participate not only in a wide variety of athletics, but also become involved in a range of competitive music, art, and academic programs. It is the duty of the adult generation to help young kids find where they fit in well with society. When me make the mistake of over-exaggerating the importance of athletics, we limit their pursuit. The best solution to this overwhelming presence of athletics in our society is to create a mandatory camp program for a month in the summer that encourages students to be involved in other activities besides sports. It would be created for children ages ten to fourteen, which is a particularly important developmental phase in youth that often isn’t taken seriously. It’s when children start to direct their focus to forming their identities through the process of determining priorities in the area of extracurricular activities. The purpose of the program would be to open the students up to all of their options, allowing them to explore various areas of interest, instead of only the ones that parents may choose to enroll them in. The environment will be purposely designed to be very carefree and more flexible than a regular school, with a variety of stations that the children can explore to the extent of their choice. These programs will be fun and attractive to young children who are intrigued by the world around them. Over the years, we will make an effort to improve the program based on feedback received from the young learners. This plan would originally start in the suburb of Glenview, and with success would eventually expand across the nation. It would be completely government funded, and staffed by public school teachers. Adult guidance would only be necessary for general supervision and for any type of questioning the students may have. The stations will be interactive, instead of a school setting that is centered around the lecturing of teachers. The program will allow the general youth to be more open minded to activities besides athletics, and instill more diverse values to them as they move into high school. It will allow the children to make their own decisions of what they want to put time and energy into. This will settle the controversy because while it will continue to keep all the benefits that athletics bring to the community, at the same time, it will give children who don’t find interest in sports the opportunity to find their undiscovered passion.