Sports Round Up: How are High School Extracurriculars Surviving?
BY HAYLEY NIGRELLE | EDITORIAL INTERN
Playing a high school sport is a big part of people’s lives. Sports greatly help young teens in multiple fields of life. learning how to communicate with different types of people and how to be a leader are only a few. Regardless, many school districts throughout the country have faced budget cuts throughout the past years in art and music; now the sports programs face the same fate. Art, music, and sports are a crucial factor in young students lives. Extra curricular programs teach kids about things that are not taught in the classroom, but things that can be developed by being a part of these programs. In a classroom, a student can learn about the constitution and how to use the quadratic formula; however, they aren’t learning life skills.
In an art class, a student can learn skills to make their imagination come to life, learn how to express themselves. Now, more than ever, children are visual learners. Also, in a music class, the students can develop better language skills and stimulate their minds. Dr. Kerry Freedman, Head of Art and Design Education at Northern Illinois University, was quoted in a PBS article, “The Importance of Art in Child Development” by Grace Hwang Lynch: “Children need to know more about the world than just what they can learn through text and numbers. Art education teaches students how to interpret, criticize, and use visual information, and how to make choices based on it.” If children don’t have the skills to comprehend what is around them, then their knowledge of the world is limited to “text and numbers.” I believe that just using text and numbers doesn’t create a well rounded population of young people that are the nation’s future thinkers, creators and problem solvers. In a PBS article “The Benefits of Music Education” by Laura Lewis Brown, Children’s Music Workshops Dr. Kyle Pruett stated: “Language competence is at the root of social competence. Musical experience strengthens the capacity to be verbally competent.” Being proficient in a job involves being a good communicator. So, if young generations are in a learning environment where they are exposed to music, in the future they will be proficient in society and their workplace. If we don’t have people in the workforce, whether that be ranging from a blue collar job to a white collar job. Be competent and able to produce good work then our society on a whole will degrade.
Sports programs contribute to the rest of the extra education of young teens and children. A factor that art and music don’t have that sports programs provide is exercise. Exercise is made fun by having sports programs, kids love playing games, competition and being with their peers. Kids on their own won’t just go out and run around a track, but if you add in other people their age and a goal to work towards they are having fun and getting exercise to keep them healthy. The sports budget cuts are taking a big toll on the young generation’s opportunity to be healthy and active. In a NPR Morning Edition about how budget cuts hinder sports programs, Frank Deford says, “To knock out athletic exercise at a time when childhood obesity is an absolute epidemic could be just as damaging for the health of the nation.” Without an organized outlet for kids and teens the rate of child obesity is surely going to increase. Young children need a organized sports program be able to run around, stay healthy and have fun .
If school sports are cut, then club or AAU teams are what's left for kids and teens to have organized sports. But not everyone can shell out hundreds of dollars for a Club or AAU sport, by having school sports kids are able to play for a team and not have to worry about money being a factor.
It used to be that children would run around their neighborhood gathering their friends and play a game of pickup basketball. However, with the growing trend of AAU and club sport teams, there are less kids running around playing pick up games. Now there are all of these “Elite” basketball programs that are supposed to be the next level, but cost hundreds of dollars. If you want to pay for the team and have a title of “I play for _____ Elite Basketball.” A pick up game of any sport is and was always available to all players, but these AAU and Club teams are creating a divide between families who can either pay the fee or families who can’t. Most of the time players just want the title of “Elite,” there are some players of those teams that do deserve that title. School sport programs are an equal playing field for all types of families. Parents don’t have to pay for their kid to try out or play for the team and builds the confidence of the young player. Although there are differences between the private and public schools, sports programs help kids feel like they belong and are equal to their peers.
Art, music, and sports programs are very important for the development and growth of the young generations of today. Art programs help children and teens develop their visual learning skills, that help them become proficient in the visual society we live in. Music programs also help children and teens become good communicators which is important when wanting to excel in their job. Finally, sports programs help children and teens stay active and provide a organized sport team that is available to everyone. These programs should stay in school districts and be given a proper budget. They are crucial for the future of our society.