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Student-athlete

I am a Student-athlete. I am a student-athlete. Although many are called by this name, few are actually both. I pride myself on being able to call myself a true student-athlete. It has not been easy and it will only get more difficult, but the sense of accomplishment that comes with it is worth the struggle. This is due to the fact that in today’s high school sports venue, being a true student-athlete has become a very cumbersome task. I guess I’m not what you would call a “star” athlete. I’m the guy that is forced to rely solely on academics to succeed in life.

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In our culture, professional athletes have been placed above society. They are viewed almost like gods among us, and this idolatry even occurs in high school. In high school, star athletes are “above society’ and its rules. It is impossible for them to be in trouble because they are viewed as too important to winning. This gives them the mindset that they can do whatever they want whenever they want to. However, if an average student-athlete does something wrong; then the wrath of a coach, dean, and/or teacher is felt.

Obviously, this is very unfair and students that are not “stars” all agree that everyone should be susceptible to the same punishment. However, since the focus of sports has switched to winning this has become a major issue. I have noticed in recent years, a subtle but noticeable change in all sports at the high school level. Sports are less about having fun and building character, and are more focused on winning. In the past, sports were keen on building character and developing the athlete as a person. Sports today are quite the opposite. Although they preach it, few actually practice it.

Sports also used to be focused on having a good time, learning important life lessons, and having experiences you can share with your future children. This focus instead has slowly shifted to winning games. This has led to longer practices and more time spent on sports than ever. In order to win you must practice more, and by having longer practices there is a lot less time for academics. Contrary to what it should be, sports are put ahead of school/academics. I personally believe the word student-athlete means a student first and athlete second, however the roles are being switched at an exponential rate.

A growing importance is being placed on sports. They are slowly taking prominence over academics. In my experience as a student-athlete I have seen/felt this change personally. It has become increasingly difficult to balance getting good grades and excelling at sports. Coaches desperately need to realize that school comes first; not sports, winning, or being an athlete exclusively. Tremendous amounts of stress and pressure are put on student-athletes to perform at a very high caliber whether on the field, in the classroom, or at home.

This causes us to make decisions like: whether to stick with it, to quit being an athlete, or even worse, to quit being a student. If only coaches could realize this and change their ways and make sacrifices for the sake of all the students’ futures. Because the current situation has made it very difficult to be a student-athlete. In modern society a great importance has been placed on sports good athlete. Coaches, teachers, and school boards need to change their view on athletics as a whole. The reapportioning of academics to top priority would be a pivotal change in direction.

Because by putting athletics first, they are mixing up the priorities of young people. Coaches are putting exponential amounts of stress on winning, while in the classroom teachers are expecting more and more. This makes it near impossible to do both and perform at a very high level causing many to choose athletics over academics. I personally have been challenged by this huge feat of achieving perfection on an off the field. That’s why if coaches emphasized winning less and more focus was put on school; then all students would do better in school and hence have better futures.

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