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Grades and Sports: Should I Pull My Student Athletes if The Grades Drop?

Written by Emily Erson

In a recent interview, UCLA quarterback Josh Rosen made a startling claim, “Football and school don’t go together,” he said. “They just don’t.”  The majority of people seem to disagree with Rosen. They call his statement a gross generalization.  But, there are others that agree.  It brings up a great debate, Grades and Sports: Should I Pull My Skater if Grades Drop?

For parents paying the large bills associated with today’s youth sports, the conversation about grades and sports has undoubtedly landed on the dinner table on at least one occasion. This discussion only becomes more heated when grades start to drop.

What do you do, as a parent, if your kids are playing a sport and their grades start to drop? There are two very passionate sides to this debate.

Grades and Sports Argument #1: School Comes First

This is the most popular argument when it comes to sports and school. The majority of parents know that school is paramount. Many even strike a deal with a child that is eager to try out for sports. You can play as long as it does not affect your grades.

The hope is to reinvigorate the child’s desire to pay attention in school and get good grades, and it provides an easy out from sports if classes are affected.

This line of grades and sports thinking puts school first. Those who follow this train of thought feel getting accepted into college, getting a job and having a career is more important than playing a game.

The statistics show that few young athletes will ever “make it big” in their sport of choice or even receive a college scholarship.

However, this reasoning, while accurate, significantly undervalues the skills and character building that a young boy or girl can develop in sports. Not every Mite skater is destined for the NHL.  But, not every kid that grows up dreaming of being a doctor ends up having the grades and ability to attend medical school.

Education should be a primary focus of children.  But, every child learns differently. So, school’s brick and mortar existence shouldn’t diminish the potential value and lessons that are available outside of the classroom’s walls.

Some of life’s most valuable lessons are taught on a field, a court, an ice rink or by a coach. Some of the lessons and character building developed through sports can improve a person’s capability and drive as a student.

Grades and Sports Argument #2: Sports Is The Best Avenue Into College For Some

 


Not every child is academically inclined. Many students struggle with school. Thus, some parents push their kids towards sports. They see it as a potential avenue to gain a scholarship and go on to college.

For truly gifted athletes, sports are a means to reach what their below-average grades would not provide them.

There is a downside to this approach. Students can put all their focus into sports and secure a college scholarship. But, the academic requirements at the collegiate level often become challenging.

In other words, they focus so much on sports that they miss the school lessons that they need to succeed in college.

The other drawback to this argument is that it can ingrain in children a sense that they can subvert typical conventions by using their athleticism, like focusing on sports instead of school.

Eventually, athleticism fades; everyone grows older, weaker and less capable. There will come a time where that athletic gift isn’t so outstanding, which can leave your son or daughter wondering how to cope without it.

Grades and Sports Argument #3: Sports Is Something You Do When You’re Young

The last point raises an interesting case worthy of a third argument: you can’t play sports forever, but you learn your entire life. In other words, children should play sports simply because they can, and that capability won’t be there forever.

Many athletes that reach the pro-level will later go to college (or return to college) to seek higher education after their athletic career is finished.

This angle to the debate doesn’t place sports or education over one another but rather aims to demonstrate that there is a time and place for both. The athletic capabilities of our bodies are ephemeral.

It is, arguably, best to pursue those athletic dreams and aspirations when they are possible because as you age, those doors begin to close. Education, on the other hand, is an ongoing process that lasts your entire life.

This argument also points out that, as children, we don’t know what our future holds. Many people change career paths multiple times throughout their life. And, your focus of study in college might not be aligned with what your long-term career ends up being.

Thus, it may be better to focus on sports early and see where life takes you. There is always time to educate yourself and change your life’s trajectory.

Grades and Sports Debate: The Choice is Yours

Ultimately, there is no right or wrong answer because every child is different and unique. What may work in one scenario does not necessarily work in another. That said, sports and school are two valuable sides of the same coin.

They are two of the most influential factors in a young person’s life. Don’t value one more or less than the other. You are limiting the possibilities of your son or daughter’s future.

 

About the author

Emily Erson

I am a full-time teacher, mother, driver of children, cooker of dinner, washer of laundry, sayer of whatever is on my mind and hockey mom extraordinaire. In my free time --like that exists--I blog in order to vent the frustration that comes with raising 3 kids. My mantra, blogging and ranting are better than a drinking problem.

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