School Sports: Focusing on Valuable Outcomes Beyond Winning

School Sports: Focusing on Valuable Outcomes Beyond Winning

School sports are an essential part of the school experience for many students. They offer a variety of valuable outcomes, including learning teamwork, developing a lifetime habit of fitness, giving non-academically-focused kids a chance to shine, offering leadership opportunities, and valuing persistence, innovation, and responsibility. However, the current focus on winning at all costs often overshadows these valuable outcomes.

Many schools seem to have forgotten that school sports are about much more than winning. Coaches often bench students who might not have the physical attributes necessary to win, and schools invest in large stadiums and long road trips to gain a competitive edge. This cutthroat focus on winning can create a toxic environment that detracts from the benefits that school sports should provide.

Rather than focusing on winning, we should prioritize creating a positive and inclusive environment where every student can learn and grow. This could mean having a small league and swapping kids around until the teams are evenly matched, giving every single player the same amount of game time, and rewarding kids for personal growth rather than for being better than someone else who simply started with a bit less than they did.

Coaches should be rewarded for what is actually valued by parents and students, rather than for recreating what people see on TV. Instead of berating students that make an error, coaches should focus on helping them learn from their mistakes and grow as individuals.

Perhaps we could begin by asking what school sports are even for. Are they there to entertain the fans? Or are they there to provide an opportunity for students to learn and grow?

The same principles that apply to school sports also apply to other extracurricular activities, such as the local jazz band and the middle school theatre production. We should focus on creating a positive and inclusive environment that values personal growth and development over winning at all costs.

In conclusion, school sports can have a variety of valuable outcomes beyond winning. By focusing on creating a positive and inclusive environment that values personal growth and development, we can ensure that every student has the opportunity to learn and grow through school sports. Let us prioritize the valuable outcomes that school sports can provide, and move away from the toxic focus on winning at all costs.


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