School Sports Are Beneficial to Students

Sophomore Aveya Stone swings at the ball.

School sports provide a wide variety of benefits for students. While there is the obvious reason — to stay in shape — the vast programs schools offer for participating in sports allow students to develop other skills.

To start with the obvious, playing sports at school keeps students healthier. However, this is not the only benefit that comes from participating. The University of Rochester in New York wrote an article about the benefits of students playing sports: some of the benefits they listed include increased concentration, enhanced memory, stimulated creativity, lowers overall stress levels, and increases in overall energy. “In short, playing sports helps your brain grow and makes it work better,” wrote the author of the article, Amir Ianis Khelil.

When playing sports, you need to concentrate and focus on every aspect of the game, otherwise it is harder to succeed. Participating in sports is a great way to increase your ability to concentrate and focus on many things for an extended period of time.

In addition to helping with your ability to concentrate, it has been scientifically proven that playing sports also improves people’s memory. Being active, or playing sports, increases blood flow to the brain which allows the brain to build more connections with nerves, which in turn, improves memory.

Increased concentration and enhanced memory both contribute to being more creative. Creativity doesn’t come directly from playing sports, but there are different factors that go into it., the same company that hosts TED talks, states that “a good mood is the starting point for heightened creativity.” Athletes are playing their sports because they enjoy it. Freshman Lucy Kao said, “[sports] allow me to be more creative with my work and they just make me happy.”

Not only does engaging in sports contribute to being more creative, but it also helps lower stress levels. Participating in sports, and exercise overall, increases the production of endorphins. According to Cleveland Clinic, endorphins are “hormones that are released when your body feels pain or stress. They are produced in your brain and act as messengers in your body. Endorphins are produced to help relieve pain, reduce stress, and improve mood.”

Some have claimed that partaking in sports is not greatly advantageous because it decreases your energy. However, this is false. Harvard Health conducted a study about this exact topic and found that exercising causes muscle cells to reproduce more frequently. In the cells lies the mitochondria: the “powerhouse of the cell” gives our body oxygen. In simple terms, more mitochondria means more energy. Fatigue may appear problematic during and after exercise, however muscle growth and often long-term aerobic benefits outweigh the initial discomfort.

Sports help kids make the right decisions. Using drugs and consuming alcohol are easy to succumb to in today’s world, and studies have been done, such as the one from the National Library of Medicine, that show that kids who are active participants of sports are less likely to use drugs or drink. Using drugs or alcohol affects people in a physical way and affects their ability to exercise. In addition to impacting one’s capability to exercise, and therefore to be able to participate in a sport, most teams require that students take a physical exam. This physical is an official document that proves that the student is not using drugs or alcohol. If coaches find out that students are using these items, there is the possibility that they will be suspended or kicked off the team.

Aside from helping kids make the right decisions, participating in school sports results in good grades. To be an athlete for the school students need to meet the required GPA (2.0 at Campo). This ensures that students are not focusing solely on sports, but that they are also focusing on academics. Aside from maintaining good grades, school sports also encourage students to attend school. At Campo students are not allowed to attend practice or games if they were not at school for at least half of the day. This works as an incentive for athletes.

When asked how sports affect her behavior at school, Kao said, “It makes me happy and makes me feel better at school because I know that I have something to look forward to after school and it’s worth coming to school to do my sport.”

Students can also learn important life skills through playing school sports. These skills include teamwork, cooperation, time management, and leadership.

Teamwork is a skill that can be learned through many different activities, but sports are an easily accessible option. In a game or during practice everyone is working toward the same goal meaning people need to know how their actions affect others. Team sports require cooperation and communication. Sports fields are a great place for these skills to be developed because people learn how to work together and communicate their needs while also doing something they enjoy, making the whole experience enjoyable.

Cooperation is another life lesson taught through participation in sports. It is impossible for everyone to always get what they want, and compromises have to be made.

Kao said “[team sports] help [people] with their work and work ethic. If you’re gonna work hard and be the best teammate that you can in your sport, that carries over to school. When you’re working in a group, you’re much more productive because you know you want to help your team be better, which carries over to school. Having a good work ethic is also important. Good work ethic carries over from sports to school.

Time management is an essential part of life and something sports incessantly provide opportunities for. School sports are rigorous and time consuming themselves and students also need to allot time for homework so they can maintain their grades. Students are obliged to work around this obstacle and find a balance between schedules.

Developing leadership skills is also something that often happens on sports teams because they require leaders, hardworking participants and people with the ability to be both to ensure success. On school teams, seniors are often the ones put in leadership roles and they have influence over fellow teammates both on and off the field or court.

In addition to seniors having an influence over the rest of their team, players form personal connections with fellow teammates. Teammates spend multiple hours every day with each other, and it is very easy to get to know someone when playing a sport with them. Being on the same team as someone is a great opportunity to make a new friend.

Kao, who played Campo volleyball and is a current participant of Campo swim said, “[School sports] help you make friends and get you into the community. It’s really important to have those extracurriculars that are still related to school.”

Schools need to acknowledge that sports offer immense benefits to students and should encourage students to participate in athletics more. When students participate in physical activities related to the school a sense of school spirit arises because they want to bring honor to their name, as well as the name of their school.

In addition to encouraging students to participate in school sports, schools and teachers should be more understanding of the demands of these sports. Many sports require students to leave class early. This is not an issue for many students, but other students often feel rushed and start to fall behind in class. Some people may argue against this by saying that teachers have an Academy period for this exact reason, but some teachers still remain extremely stubborn about the subject. They will not let students finish taking a test during Academy which leaves students with two options: rush during the test or be late to the athletic activity. Kao said, “I’ve had to miss tests, or go to academies to make up work, when I could be using those academies to do my other homework and catch up. But also if I am doing my schoolwork I’ll feel rushed to get it done in the shortened amount of time that we have”.

This puts an extra layer of stress on athletes; stress that could be easily avoided if teachers are more helpful to student athletes.

In conclusion, school sports are extremely beneficial to students because they allow students to develop new skills, increase school spirit, act as an incentive to keep students away from harmful substances, and allow people to make new friends.