Cut-throat nature of sports
May 24, 2012 • adam griffith, bear facts sports writer
Filed under Viewpoint
The world of sports is filled with arguments. We fight over our favorite teams, debate officiating, and criticize our opponents. Disputes are drawn over drug testing policies, contract wages and coaching decisions and. Whether we like it or not, the evidence is clear that arguments and speculations are part of sporting world. It is the nature of our way to fight for ourselves and, to some extent, fuels the life of an athlete.
Like the professional industry, youth sports and the amateur level carry their own disputes and concerns and like the professional world, the list of areas we dispute over could go on and on. One of the more commonly discussed issues over youth sports, particularly at the high school level, is whether sports should be cut-throat in nature. Recent events brought this issue into the local spotlight when (A lot) of cheerleaders from LZHS discontinued the sport, claiming it to be too intense and stressful for life of a high schooler. While none of the former-cheerleaders wished to comment, many of them expressed their concern over the high time consumption, physical strain and over-stress levels the sport put on them.
While I have not seen this as an issue in any sports at LZHS nor believe it is a problem present in our school, the topic is widely debated across the nation. In this issue, there are two sides that are usually presented. One being the argument that high school sports should not be overly-competitive and time consuming and. The other argument might be that high school sports should demand high physical work, multiple hours each day etc.
I believe the answer lies somewhere in between the two sides.
High school sports should be about the game. Developing skills, representing your school, and sharing your love for the game with your teammates by putting in the hard work seem to be the key to success on any sports field.
It is no secret that achieving this success can be difficult to come by, and the intensity which the sport is run at can be a major contributor. High school sports should demand the level of intensity that is required to create discipline amongst the athletes. This may require both physically and mentally grueling exercises but with training comes improvement and with improvement comes results.
At the high school level, improved results leading to victory should always be the goal. At this stage in an athlete’s life sports should reach a level of competitiveness which demands always striving for the win. I believe it is both acceptable and necessary for the expectation in high school to be to improve and strive for the win every time you step foot on the field of competition. There is something that lives within every athlete, something that makes us tick. It is the desire to win and ambition to leave everything you have on the field. If an athlete does not show these desires they have not yet reached the mindset to contribute to a team or program at the high school level.
If the athlete wants all of this, then the practice the coach lays out for them should be seen as a the ticket to their goals. There is a quote commonly used by athletes and coaches: “you get out of it what you put into it.” This quote has been proven by results to be true and means exactly how it sounds. The more you give, the better results you will have. Nothing comes naturally and nothing is given to you. When a coach gives a hard workout or practice, it should be seen as an opportunity to improve, not torture or punishment. Coaches have the right to demand high intensity-workouts from time to time as that is what creates discipline and makes the team better.
The line should be drawn before the practice intensity leads to injury due to unnecessary physical strain on the body. High school athletes don’t get paid, they do it for their love of the game and no student athlete should ever be expected to put himself at risk of further injury due to the blatant intensity of the workouts. I have never known a coach who demanded such things nor have I ever known or heard of a coach who believes that sports should come before schoolwork but the time that is expected out of every athlete on a daily basis should not interfere with a students academic success. School’s do a good job of keeping this in line by placing eligibility rules on student-athletes.
The last argument that is frequently made towards cut-throat sports is the coaches. I have had loud coaches, quiet coaches, funny coaches, mean coaches, coaches who yelled and coaches who gave speeches. Whatever way they get their points across, coach’s use their attitudes as a tool. Different athletes react better with different coaching styles. If a coach chooses to yell at his athletes to get his message across or to motivate players he should be able to. For some athletes it is a part of their sport and they use it to help them motivate. However, the yelling should never reach the point where it emotionally affects the athletes mindset, or where it could be interpreted as bullying.
Whatever the case may be, the level of intensity in high school sports should demand time, physically grueling workouts and mental discipline so that the universal goal of victory can be reached. The line should be drawn where the intensity escalades to levels where athletes are put at physical risk, mental abuse (?) or a schedule that takes away from the athletes grades.
Nobody said it was easy, and it shouldn’t be. Sports are meant to make us stronger individuals and high school sports should push for that in all athletes, the problem comes when the intensity takes away the passion, when the athletes get burnt out and ruins the sport they love.