Should US high schools drop sports?

Most likely the same way people learn to love sports in situations where there aren’t already school teams - grade schools and junior high schools in my area don’t have teams* , but the high school teams are not full of people who didn’t pick up a baseball or golf clubs until 9th grade. They played in Little League/Pop Warner or other community leagues and the better ones often play on competitive travel teams - which often discourage them from playing on their high school team.

*and there are sports for which few high schools field a team - it’s not like every high school has a golf team or an ice hockey team.

I would suppose they learned in Little League and Pop Warner* encouraged that there were programs at the schools. In any case, we have already gutted the schools. By gutting the schools we have gutted communities. We have led people into less happy, less stimulating lives. But the main thing is we saved a few bucks in our taxes I suppose.

As I said, the rich will always give their children music and sports. Why can’t the rest of us have a few crumbs?

  • I understand they are in real trouble due to insurance costs.

I don’t have a particular problem with the idea of sports in schools (although I sometimes have issues with how they are run). But I don’t understand “With no school sports, what would happen to sports?” What exactly is wrong with the idea of leagues and teams based on the community you live in rather than the school you attend ? I doubt there is anywhere in the US where everyone attends a single high school. Even districts with a single public high school usually have kids who attend private high schools of one sort or another- and those private school students typically do not play on the same " school team" ( or often even the same league) as their next-door neighbor who attends public school.

Except for high school football there are private leagues for any and all sports in my area. Football is private up to 8th grade.

Sometimes part of the reason private teams are better is because certain kids dont get more playing time based on the students pull with the school like school board members kids can get. Many times the amount of playing time is partly based on how much the parents donate to the booster club however this can also be with activities like band or the school play.

That’s Eagle Stadium in Allen, Texas which cost $60 million to construct. The construction was faulty, the stadium was temporarily closed, and the contractor was forced to spend $10 million in repairs before it could be reopened. In the 1980s, my middle school would occasionally play at Clark Stadium in Plano, Texas which had a capacity of 14,000+ and was built in the 70s. No, my middle school games never filled to capacity.

In 2013 I moved from a traditional HS to a magnet school with no sports. Like a fish that can’t describe water, I didn’t realize just how pervasive sports culture was in a school until I was somewhere that didn’t have them.

At a traditional HS, there is a sense that sports are what a school is FOR. That everything else is the blah blah blah you have to have to support the athletics program. Even people that don’t play sports buy into this, because it’s just h ow it is. The sports people feel so strongly about it that they win by default.

The idea of sports is not bad. The actual practice can be pretty horrific. Sports perpetuate everything from toxic gender roles to scorn for education to unhealthy lifestyle choices and dishonesty (like faking residency)

As a very first step, I’d get rid of playoffs. Win your district, best of a set of 8? Yay. Have a party. But the season stops there. Its the hope of making the playoffs, the feeling that you got r a get further than last year, the always ending the season on a loss, that leads to the arms race.

Also, college sports recruiters are often lying scumbags. As are consultants and trainers that take thousands and make promises they can’t deliver.

Children from less affluent families would likely have even less access to sports programs than they do now.

But maybe that wouldn’t be a big deal of success in sports weren’t the main driver for status in school any more, and if they had access to an significantly improved education because the school wasn’t undercutting it’s educational mission in order to support the athletics program.

There are over 13,000 independent school districts so I would hesitate to make such a broad claim. I went to high school in Plano, Texas where sports, especially football, is akin to a religion. As I said earlier in the thread, I played football in a stadium with a capacity of 14,000 and while my games didn’t fill the seats the high school games certainly could.

Although the presence of sports couldn’t exactly be ignored, my school had a very large student body with such a diverse array of activities to be involved with that for many sports was just be a background noise. One could have a robust social life and engage in all sorts of school activities and organizations without ever engaging in any meaningful way with the sports program.

I know Plano sports. The issue isn’t whether or not kids could find a place. The issue is how many hours a week did the principal spend on athletics related issues? How much hiring and firing decisions were based on the needs of athletics? How often horrific behavior was treated differently because it was an athlete? The issue isn’t if other kids could find a place for themselves around the edges, but that it was an edge at all.

Sports as very commonly practiced in schools can be very bad for all of the above for those kids who aren’t good at them.

I don’t think they should be dropped altogether. But I think there ought to be a whole lot more emphasis on joy of movement and on finding a sport (or several) that one can play for the fun of it, and a whole lot less emphasis on competition.

This. A million times this. Every child should get the opportunity to try different sport activities, including learning to swim. But this focus on team sports really discourages the children from finding something they enjoy doing. And we all know fitness is a problem.

Even for individual sport activities, such as doing push-ups, etc, there should be more emphasis on improving one’s own fitness and not competing against each other.

Nothing is wrong with that. It might be a great idea.

But somehow we all know that once they cut out school teams they will never quite get around to building a new system.

Probably not true for the most part. And where it is true it’s a good sign that the program was nothing but advanced recess anyway.

What makes some programs good and others “nothing more than advanced recess?” While a handy term of contempt it is without much use in a serious discussion.

Attitude of the administration and the coaches. The emphasis should be on developing athletes, not winning at all costs. Yes, winning is important to a degree as that attracts athletes but the newbies/less talented should never be put aside.

School sports should be eliminated, because all of the benefits they supposedly offer, they actually hinder.

Physical fitness, for instance. I’m a heck of a lot more physically fit than my brother-in-law is. Why? One big reason is because he played high school sports, and I didn’t. He got a leg injury in freshman football that’s still with him, and makes it difficult for him to get in physical activity. That’s a story that’s all too common.

Or social skills. How often have we seen schools where the jocks are the bullies? They’re learning bad habits, not good ones. And while it helps your team to be working together well, it also helps your team for the other team to not be working together well, so you’ll try to sabotage their teamwork.

OK, so are we moving along to:

Should US high schools drop sports programs that focus on winning at all costs?

Excuse me. I am at (online) Bible study. I live in fear the preacher might call on me.

  1. Physical fitness has little to do with competitive sports programs.

  2. People learn to love sports from their friends and family, not from organized school programs.

  3. To the extent that schools organize sports activities, they should be activities that concentrate on participation of everyone who wants to participate, not on finding the best players.

  4. School sports programs should have essentially zero cost beyond providing a playing field and simple equipment, such as a ball. All participation should be voluntary. No paid coaching. No uniforms, no traveling. Just have kids wear their P.E. clothes.

  5. There should be no money spent on spectator stands. The focus should be on kids who want to play, not watch.

lots of schools have basketball, soccer, and baseball available to their students. Tennis is a little less common, since the court can’t also be used for other stuff, but I’ve seen it.

This. Sports are good for kids. They are a place to learn team work, to make friends, to feel good about yourself, and to get exercise. The problem is when sports take over. Like anything in excess, sports can be toxic. But taken in moderation, I think sports are part of a healthy education.