Everyone witnesses student athletes in schools. Everyone has observed a game or athletic meet of some sort in high school. Students often place themselves on more than one sports team during the year. Some deal with academics as well as athletics extremely well. The ones that don’t, however, suffer. Schools become divided when the football team receives all new equipment, while the gymnastics meet was cancelled due to lack of funding. Then, the situations of student athletes falling behind academically due to many absences also occur.
A person can always find a student that performs poorly when under too much pressure. A bad athletic program is to blame. The three main effects of a bad athletic program are favoritism among different athletic programs, student falling academically behind, and the pressure of performance placed on students. Favoritism among different athletic programs reflects negatively because it signals that one program is more important than another. Funding issues between the different athletic activities seem ever present. In some towns, the schools have resorted to pay to play for sports. This is when the student must provide the money in order to participate in a certain sports. The money often goes towards equipment rental fees and other costs along those lines. A problem occurs when only certain sports in these schools have students pay for them. Sometimes, the amount of money a sport brings into a school decides which sport overrides another. A football game will almost always bring in more money than a wrestling meet. With this happening, recognition between the different sports programs is on different levels. Walking through the halls of a high school, one observes posters cheering on the football, basketball, and even soccer teams. Very rarely does one see a poster wishing the marching band luck at a local competition. Many high schools also present award banquets for the student athletes where many receive the letters they earned during the season. Many of the banquets honor those in sports such as basketball, volleyball, football, and the like. The gymnastics or swim team banquets are almost none existent.
Students participating in bad athletic programs fall behind academically due to lack of attendance. After missing a class period because of a sporting event, student athletes then try to allot time to catch up on homework. They must complete not only the current homework assignment, but the missed homework as well. Teachers have to often work around the athletic program’s schedule for tests or quizzes. Notes taken by other students won’t suffice because they are often incomplete. A few missed class periods and a student’s workload almost floods them. There are also some teachers that feel the need to pass students because of their ability to play sports. This assistance hurts more than helps. Take Jack for example. Jack was an all-star athlete in his school. He competed in football, basketball, and track. Colleges began looking at him in his sophomore year. The problem that plagued Jack started with his academic life. First, he only missed a couple of classes, but then sports began demanded more out of his life. He skipped a homework assignment about once a week. Once a week turned into twice a week. Twice a week turned into three. The pattern continued throughout the school year.
He began failing many of his classes. Some of Jack’s teacher decided to pass him anyway, because he meant a lot to the sports programs. When Jack started his junior he had a reading level of a 6th grader and could not complete many of the assignments from his classes. Jack is a prime example of how a bad athletic program can effect grades. When students feel too much pressure to succeed, it affects them mentally as well as physically. Athletic programs sometimes push their athletes too far. Students receive not only peer pressure when performing in sports, but pressure from home as well. Students make their lives revolve around sports in order to pacify coaches and parents. This causes mental side effects. Many students begin to feel like if their performance is weak, they disappoint others. Some parents take it upon themselves to coach their child outside of the regular practices and games. Could this overwhelm the student; would the parent know if it overwhelmed the student? Students’ self worth bases itself on athletics. They feel like the need to perform in order for others to like them or have association with a certain group or organization. Many feel like involvement in sports contributes to their status as individuals. Often, athletes become obsessed with this attitude.
They drive themselves to perfection. Exercise and weight training turn into a religious activity. There are also reports of student athletes taking performance enhancers in order to play better and longer. This affects them physically by draining them of energy. Soon a small push or shove for performance turns into an out of control ride of death. People are often unaware of the effects of a bad athletic program, and if they are, they try to put it out of mind. What they fail to realize is that one day, their children may be the victim of a bad athletic program. Will they be able to recognize the factors involved? Will they be contributing to the pressure that their son or daughter already receives? Is their child falling academically behind because of sports? By knowing what happens when a bad athletic programs enters a school system, parents could help stop the effects. Stopping the effects would allow a bad athletic program to turn into a good one. A good athletic program emphasizes academics as well as athletics. It shows a way to keep fit and deal with stress, not be the cause of it. A good sports program could even save a life from the massive amount of pressure placed upon it.