Amanda Ripley's Article: The Case Against High School Sports

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Throughout school I was never really athletic. While I excelled in all my academic and artistic classes, I barely scraped by in gym class. My parents forced me to join soccer and cheerleading as a child, in hopes that I would find something I was good at, but I would complain about it until, ultimately, they’d allow me to quit. Needless to say, I never really understood the fuss about high school sports. In Amanda Ripley’s article, “The Case Against High School Sports,” she argues that the craze over high school sports may actually be harming American school systems. Ripley makes it very clear in the beginning of her article that America’s obsession with school sports is not shared in most countries. Ripley speaks to a foreign exchange student…show more content…
These areas could reach beyond the academics, which Ripley touches on, and into other extra-curricular activities. In high school, I was extremely involved in theatre and speech and debate, as well as choir. Even in my small school our already small programs felt the effects of budget cuts. Yet, I never saw evidence of any financial struggle for the sports teams. While our theatre program could not afford microphones for our school musical and our science classrooms had not received updated textbooks in nearly a decade, the football and volleyball teams were given all new uniforms, even though the old ones were only a year or two old. Our school often spoke of the financial struggles they felt, yet the budgets for sports were never up for debate. Ripley talks about the benefits of high-school sports, and while I cannot deny that it is important to value “exercise, lessons in sportsmanship and perseverance, school spirit, and just plain fun” (3), it’s not worth the sacrifices the schools must make to have sports. That mentality also suggests that playing sports is the only way to gain certain life skills; however, someone might learn about teamwork from being in a play or doing a group project in school. School spirit could be encouraged through pep assemblies. There are several other ways to gain the same values without sports being involved in a school…show more content…
One option is something Premont High school employed: cutting sports out of schools altogether. This option worked well for Premont; it saved them money, improved academics, and helped decrease behavior issues (5-8). The only foreseeable issue, other than community disapproval, would be the fact that the school would have to cut all other extra-curricular activities. The more moderate, and possibly sensible, solution would be to greatly downsize the budget allotted for high-school sports. The greatest amount of funding would go to academics, and all extra-curricular activities and organizations would receive the same amount of funding. No matter what solution schools employ there will be pushback from the community, but a solution is necessary. Academics are a nonnegotiable factor of schools, and as a society, we seem to want to overlook this. Education shapes the future of America and the world; it’s unlikely that football will be enough to help us mold the world into a better
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