by Danessa Allen
It is well known that sports are a significant aspect in any school, but it is especially important in small towns. Sterling High School is planning to cut sports teams for the 2017-2018 school year. For most athletes, including myself, this is a scary thought, however there are two sides of the spectrum. One side includes the athletes, the ones who participate in the sports programs that their school provides. The ones who eat, sleep, and breathe sports. Then the other side of the spectrum has the people who don’t participate in sports because they either can’t or don’t feel the need to. Some people could genuinely care less if someone scores a touchdown or makes a basket. As an athlete, I see how much of an impact that sports has on a person. I fell in love with the technique, I love with everything about the sports I participated in and continue to participate in, there is nothing else on Earth that gives me the same feeling. However, the people who don’t participate in sports don’t understand this.
At SHS goes through an enormous amount of budget cuts, they discuss taking two sports teams out of the school’s athletic program; golf and tennis. Although these are not the only programs that the school may cut, this is a hard hit to the athletes that take part in these sports. Next year’s seniors, juniors, and sophomores will only have memories of the sport that they have played in the previous year(s). I believe that cutting sports from the athletic program at SHS will not help the students in any way, shape, or form. Cutting golf will limit the male students to football or cross country, and cutting tennis will limit the female students to soccer or track. Therefore, cutting those sports will not only affect students on an educational level but on a personal level as well. For some students, golf and tennis are the sports they both enjoy and want to play.
There is a quote that really affects me as an athlete, and it says “Somewhere behind the athlete you’ve become, and the hours of practice and the coaches who have pushed you is the little… [kid] who fell in love with the… [sport] and never looked back… play for… [them].” (Mia Hamm) This quote has a very strong message, it is stating that many athletes have a strong love for the sport they participate in, and when you fell in love with a sport, you work as hard as you possibly can for it. Not to mention, statistics have proven that sports not only improve health, but also helps grades and behavioral patterns. A study conducted at LAUSD (Los Angeles Unified School Districts) showed that a student that participates in a sport has a 0.55-0.74 higher GPA than non-athletes. There are other students and faculty believe that sports are not a crucial element of high schools, but I have one question for you… why? High school sports help athletes stay in shape physically, keeps them on track with their education, and it lets students have connections with other students who also participate in the sport. Sports are a very critical part of high schools everywhere, and they affect many students, even if it’s not obvious.
There has always been some controversy between the athletes and the non-athletes, and since there is discussion about cutting art programs, an uprising is occurring. Art programs are stating “If arts programs are being cut, then sports should be cut too…” but nobody really sees how athletes are affected, unless they are athletes themselves. People who do not participate in sports often do not understand how much work and dedication athletes put into their sports. Examples of sports in SHS specifically are cheerleading, football, basketball, and that is just a small majority of the sports at SHS. The SHS cheer squad works August to March during the school year, and even practices Monday-Friday during the summer months. Other sports teams practice up to 3 hours every day after school, and put in multiple hours of hard work during their sport’s season to make progress and become better at what they enjoy doing. Sports at SHS are something that many students participate in, and enjoy watching as well. It seems that people do not understand how much of an impact that sports on the athletes that play them.
Interviewing athletes to see how sports affects students was the only way to get my point across. As expected, the students at SHS have very different opinions when it comes to sports. I guess you could say that some students are more passionate than others. Senior Victor Ferri, has a very strong opinion about sports and their place in high schools. Ferri states that sports have affected him in numerous ways. “Sports have given me the opportunity to get a college education at a discounted price.” Ferri says. When asked how sports have changed over his years at SHS, the senior states “The budget is a lot less, also recognition from the school is a lot less, especially for sports like track. I’ve won two state championships for 3A pole vault and was barely given credit for my successes.” As I interviewed Ferri, he got very passionate when he was asked if cutting sports was a smart idea from an athlete’s perspective. Ferri stated, “It’s not a good idea from anyone’s perspective, it’s simply limiting students from doing what they please. If the school could give reasoning behind cutting all these programs then maybe it could be justified. However, I also believe that before the school decides to cut a sport or any program for that matter, that students should have some sort of say in it.” He then says, “If sports were cut, I’d change schools. There would be no reason to stay at SHS if it takes away from my future opportunities.” Athletes have very strong opinions especially when it comes to the sport they love, and Ferri made that very clear.
As an athlete myself, I related to what Ferri said on a personal level. Sports have been proven to affect students on an educational and personal level. I can honestly say that the high school athletics program has affected my life tremendously. I’ve met lifelong friends through the sports I participated in and it has extensively strengthened my love for track. There is still a growing debate about sports “killing” academics. Education is an important part of today’s society but while some people preach that people need to stop focusing so much on sports, they go home and watch football on Sunday Nights. Almost everyone is related to sports in some way or another. Cheerleaders Ciara Thompson and Ashby Hux had quite a bit to say about athletics as well. Thompson stated how sports have affected her since being at SHS, she says, “Sports, especially cheerleading, has helped me create life-long friendships and has helped me become more confident.” Both Thompson and Hux are second-year varsity cheerleaders, and with talk of recent budget cuts, they fear that that cheerleaders may be affected. Hux stated, “There is already talk of cutting tennis, which is the sport I play in the spring during my off time from cheer and it’s one of the things I enjoy doing. I’m honestly really upset that I won’t be able to participate anymore.” I asked both of the girls how they would feel if cheerleading was cut from SHS, especially now that cheerleading is an “official” sport according to the Olympic Committee. Both girls said they would change schools, because cheerleading is what they love to do. They said if they wouldn’t have the opportunity to participate in what they love, they don’t see a good reason to stay at Sterling High School. Both athletes believe that sports are an extremely important part of schools. Thompson said, “If I didn’t have sports then I wouldn’t know what I’d do, and I’m sure that many students at SHS can agree with me.” Hux added, “I’ve always been an athletic person, so not doing sports would be extremely hard for me.” The impact of sports on SHS is a force not to be reckoned with.
Athletics are an important part of not only SHS, but in high schools all across the nation. “Jocks” are always portrayed as rude, idiotic Neanderthals that have horrible grades and only manage to get away with it because they participate in sports. However, people need to realize that reality is nothing like the movies. Athletes work hard at what they do, and as an athlete myself, I can attest to this. Athletes have hopes and dreams just like everyone else, sports in high school extremely important and I don’t believe that these programs should be cut. I disagree cutting sports because it has not only been proven to improve the grades of student, but it also has a personal affect on them. Athletics are an amazing thing, and I am so happy to have been able to participate and receive two varsity letters as a freshman. Sports have made a huge impact on my life, and I honestly cannot wait to see how sports change and improve at SHS within the next two years before I graduate. SHS is majorly affected by sports, we are known for our accomplishments with athletics and that’s why I believe that cutting sports at Sterling High School is not beneficial. Some people may agree, and some may not, but sports from an athlete’s perspective are an amazing thing, and taking away those amazing things would be something that affects students every day.