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Haylie Clement
Mr. Hackney
English 101 Rhetoric
01 December 2014
Its a Sports Thing
Sports are a part of Americas past time. Many love watching sports, especially when
they are able to take part in them. In school, students are fortunate enough to play the sports they
love and learn to advance their skills. This past year there was an estimated 7.8 million
athletes that were involved in athletic programs at their school (Hyman). Having sports in
schools have allowed students to make friends and evolve as people through one of the things
they enjoy doing the most. In recent discussions, some have said that sports should be taken out
of school. Although the cost is high and the main focus of school is not sports, it allows students
to stay occupied and benefit for their future careers through skills acquired from participation in
Being occupied with sports or other activities has allowed students to stay out of trouble.
When temptations are present, young teenagers are vulnerable to them, causing a slip into a
negative state. While being active, students do not have the time to waste by being involved in
bad influences. Former NFL player, Dont Stallworth, is a prime example of beating the normal
expectation. When Dont was growing up, he lived in a bad neighborhood. By having football
every day, he always had a daily inspiration to drive him to be his best. Although I grant that
dedicating so much time to sports is not necessary since not every high school athlete will end up
a professional like Stallworth, I still maintain that having sports available is a beneficial way to
keep athletes out of trouble. Stallworth emphasizes that the magic of high school sports isn't

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about how a kid can go pro someday, or even that their team wins, but that they step out of their
comfort zones and challenge themselves, a lesson they take with them wherever they go in life.
Stallworth is insisting that the main focus of sports lies within the life lessons they are taught
from the discipline of their coaches to be kept out of trouble. His success story is not what is
highlighted, but his drive to become a better person than what was originally expected of him.
Sports in school not only keeps kids out of trouble but it provides skills and lessons that
are beneficial for their future careers. Teenagers are able to build from a sports team and transfer
this to real life. According to Nicole LaVoi, the co-founder of the Minnesota Youth Sport
Research Consortium, sports provide lessons in teamwork, leadership, performing under
pressure, conflict resolution, executing a game plan, and knowing ones role. All of these skills
that are developed from playing in sports can be used for future employment. As an employee,
one needs to be able to succeed at a specific role and perform at high excellence under pressure.
Athletes with this skills have seen to be successful. Teacher in leadership and sports
management at Cornell University, Kevin Kniffin, was apart of a research group that observed
the relationship between former athletes and employees. Kniffin found that those who played
high school sports tend to get better jobs, with better pay. Proven in this conducted research,
shows the benefits of having sports in high school. As an athlete, I have found these skills
present in my everyday life from the help of my team and coach. In my job, I am able to take
these life lessons and put them to proactive use.
Even though sports have shown generous rewards in students lives, there are those who
believe sports and school does not mix. Issues, such as finances, has been one of the main
objections to keeping sports in school. Earl Smith, author of the novel Race, Sport, and the
American Dream, explained that most academic programs are often sacrificed to finance sport

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teams. Since athletics are so expensive, schools do not have the money to keep up with the
changing time. To add, sports are becoming more popular so it is almost crucial to have sports
thus getting rid of some academic classes. I agree with Earl Smith that the expenses for sports
are through the roof but instead of his suggestion of completely wiping out sports, the expenses
should be monitored. For instance, Buzz Bissinger, author of Friday Night Lights, insists that
the hype of sports should be toned down, not eliminated. There was no need for a the
community of Allen, Texas to have built a high school football stadium for 60 million dollars
(Bissinger). This was money thrown unnecessarily to the athletics department. However, in
keeping a close watch on the finances, students are able to keep the benefits in playing sports
while the school is not drowning in debt. Moreover, if finances was the main issue, who is to say
that sports would be the first activity eliminated? There are additional extracurricular activities,
such as band and the debate team, that to receive generous funds from the school. Money is an
ongoing issue for many schools, and sports should not be to blame for it in total. I
wholeheartedly endorse the objection Smith makes in keeping sports in schools, but there are
alternatives to keeping finances low in schools, other than cutting sports out of the equation.
In addition to finances, some believe that sports should be taken out of school because of
the main focus of school is not in fact sports. Students focus most of their time on sports that
their directed attention should be towards their studies. The education is what is going to make
these individuals successful, not a dying dream to become a professional athlete. Member of the
New America Foundation, Amanda Ripley, states that school is about learning and the
constant attention on pep rallies and sporting events has reshaped the priorities of students in
school. In a survey taken by exchange students, 9 out of 10 said that teenagers here cared more
about sports than their peers back home (Ripley). In other words, American athletes

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prerogatives lie in sports but not in the school work. Although Ripley does not say so directly,
she assumes that the educational performance in other countries are higher due to a lesser focus
on athletics. Though I concede that schools other countries with higher academic excellence do
not have sports in school, I still insist that the level of performance is not based upon the
presence of sports. Jay Greene and Daniel Bowen, professors of education reform, remark that
high achieving countries like South Korea and Finland do not have athletics in schools.
However, many low achieving countries also lack school sports program. In other words, just
because a school is performing highly without sports does not mean all schools will react in the
same fashion. Ripley overlooks what I consider an important point about being able to
simultaneously succeed on the field as well as in the classroom. As an athlete, sports have been
a major part of my life, but has not overridden the importance of an education. My coach would
make school work come first with weekly grade checks involved. If an athlete does not meet the
passing requirement, they are not even allowed to participate in practices or games. Education is
a main focus in school but is not dominating in America to take over the enjoyment of sports too.
Sports are a major part of America and bring people together from the similar interest.
Sports in school, some may argue, are expensive and are not the main priority of the school
agenda. However, keeping sports in school has shown a great adaptation of life skills and ways
to keep kids out of trouble. These benefits shed light on the hope and future of students. Life
skills such as leadership and discipline are setting up the road ahead, just by participating in
school sports that are available. Sports in school may only concern a small group but it should in
fact concern anyone who is going to be dependent on future leaders and employers. Sports in
schools are here to stay, and with monitoring of finances and school work, it will show great

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Works Cited
Bissinger, Buzz. "Turn Down the High School Football Volume." Room for Debate. The New
York Times, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Greene, Jay P., and Daniel H. Bowen. "Sports and Education Work Together." Room for Debate.
The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Hyman, Mark. "Preserve High School Sports, but Monitor Them Closely." Room for Debate.
The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Kniffin, Kevin. "High School Athletes Gain Lifetime Benefits." Room for Debate. The New

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York Times, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
LaVoi, Nicole M. "Now Women Are Seeing the Benefits of School Sports." Room for Debate.
The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Ripley, Amanda. "School Should Be About Learning Not Sports." Room for Debate. The New
York Times, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Smith, Earl. "Make Sports an After-School Activity, Not a Competitive Team." Room for
Debate. The New York Times, 21 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.
Stallworth, Dont. "School Sports Provide Lessons in How to Live." Room for Debate. The New
York Times, 22 Oct. 2014. Web. 1 Dec. 2014.