Each year, school districts across the country submit their school budgets for their community members to approve. This is often a largely debated event, as community members question each proposed allotment and why these decisions are being made. Many members are surprised to see how much money is allotted to sports programs and the question is often asked, “Why do schools spend so much money on sports?”
Here we will explore the benefits of sports not only within the school community, but also in the community as a whole, to really explore why it is that schools spend so much money on their sporting programs.
Many school sports teams require their athletes to maintain a certain grade to be able to participate. This will differ between school districts, and even potentially depending on the grades of the students. Regardless, schools require their students to be dedicated to their school work so that their grades do not drop as they shift a lot of their focus onto their chosen sport. Therefore, those students who wish to play their chosen sport, will need to perform well in school. This is not only in grades, but also behaviorally. If student athletes perform poorly in school by receiving behavior referrals, they are often given some restrictions in terms of the sporting programs.
The students’ drives to succeed benefit the school in a very big way. As the students perform well, their teacher and school ratings will be positively reflected, as well. Schools benefit from their students performing well because it demonstrates that their educators are doing an effective job in teaching the material. Therefore, schools with high performing students are often recognized on a state and often national level as being a top school. Because of this, they may receive increased funding, as well as notoriety within the school communities. Nothing will raise school pride more than being recognized as a top school!
School sporting events often have a way to draw the community members in. Alumni that still reside in the community, along with parents and other students, are often drawn to watch these games and cheer on their teams. Former players continue to feel pride in their team and often reminisce about their times on the field. In the fall, many high school football stadiums are full of cheering community members. The draw of those bright stadium lights and cheering community members is quite strong if you’ve ever had the chance to see it in action. Each of those attending community members often pay a small ticket price to attend these events and those funds benefit the school and the school programs. This money is to supplement the money allotted within the school budget and allow their programs to flourish. The more that the school is able to fundraise on a regular basis and see success with this, the less that they would need to allot for some of this spending within their school budget.
Additionally, other school clubs, such as marching band or chorus, may be called to perform during these events. These programs are also some of the first programs to go when schools need to cut student programs. The performing arts are another set of school programs that have vast benefits to students and schools, but today’s focus is on sports. The integration of these other programs within the sporting community brings support and awareness of what else the school has to offer and allows those children the opportunity to celebrate their school, as well. It brings the school community together and allows the students to support one another.
Decrease in Behavioral Programs
From a purely fiscal standpoint, if students are spending more time after school practicing sports with their teammates, there is less time for them to be on the streets and making poor choices. It is said that idle time leads to poor choices, and this could not be more true when it comes to adolescents. Students that are focused on sports and have something to do after school often will not be left to their own devices and roaming the streets. These students will be less likely to get into trouble with the law or other community members.
With that in mind, if students are not getting into trouble with the law, there would be less of a need for probation or other programs geared towards reducing juvenile delinquency. Thus, saving the community money while also assisting the children in becoming more productive citizens. So, while spending money on the sporting programs, they can decrease the spending need for these juvenile delinquency programs. This could also have a benefit for the future of the community, as these children that do not get into trouble with the law as children or adolescents can learn to live a productive and law-abiding life, reducing the chances that they will become arrested in the future.
Increase of Community Feel
If anyone has ever played on a sports team, they would quickly realize that it is almost a family of its own. Those children often see each other and their coaches more than their families, at times. If one of their teammates is in trouble or needs help, it is likely that another teammate or coach would step in and help. Parents often help out other parents by carpooling or babysitting other teammates. Should a teammate suffer an injury or illness, the rest of that team will be the first to rally around that individual. By entering a sporting family, these students are gaining a vast amount of support. Therefore, if a student athlete may not have the best home environment, they will benefit largely from the community feel of a sports family. Regardless of the students’ home life, they can only benefit from having more trusting adults and caring peers in their lives. Some of these connections and friendships that are formed will last those children a lifetime.
Increased Overall Health
Student athletes learn at an early age the importance of physical health and how maintaining a healthy diet will fuel their bodies. Studies have also shown that children that practice sports and exercise at an early age will often continue to live that healthy lifestyle as an adult. Along with physical health, student athlete’s mental health increases as well. They benefit from the supportive community of their sports teams as well as the mental focus that is required to perform at a high level.
In a world where people increasingly struggle with rejection and loss, student athletes are taught at an early age that you cannot always win. They learn how to recover from a loss and how to learn from their mistakes. While their team may suffer a devastating loss, or perhaps even an injury, they often utilize the support of their team, classmates, parents and coaches to bounce back from that setback. The loss or injury often becomes motivation to come back stronger and this develops a drive to succeed, rather than giving up at the first sign of trouble. This is extremely beneficial to these children as they develop into adults and enter the “real world.”
Student athletes also learn the benefit of hard work paying off. They learn that if the practice hard during the off-season, that it will only benefit themselves and their team when it comes to their competitions. They will learn that slacking off not only is doing a disservice to themselves, but to also their team as well. In a world that thrives on instant gratification, this requires the students to work hard for quite some time before seeing that pay off with a win or a championship. But, once it does, the feeling of joy and accomplishment that these children report is beyond anything else. Having students that have a large amount of school pride can only benefit the schools.
School budgets across the country are largely debated every school year. In a time where every dollar matters in terms of school allotment, school districts often have to make the difficult decision to consider cutting certain programs, which often includes sports. However, why this is such a debate is because of the vast benefits that sports bring into their school and community. From high performing children and teachers to increased community support, it is easy to see why schools want to spend so much money on sports and why it is such an important discussion to have. School programs often have a large pay out to the school and community in the long run by creating students who are upstanding citizens that care for their community and its members.
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