HIgh School Athletics

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The truth of the matter is, I really don't have any problem with high school athletics. Not in theory, anyway. Of course, I don't have much trouble - in theory - with Communism, and we all know how well that particular system seems to work. Still, the comparison can only be taken so far, and we don't want to look too deep into this particular metaphor, because it doesn't always hold up. For example: unlike Communism, high school athletic programs are not an evil empire that forcibly seizes control and threatens the rest of the world with international revolution . . . ok, well, maybe that was a bad example . . . Here, then: unlike Communism, high school athletic departments in general have not sent countless millions of their citizens to die in overcrowded gulags in the heart of northern Siberia. Not physically, anyway. Regardless, the purpose of this editorial is not to examine and compare the intrinsic natures of Communism and high school athletics, respectively, but, rather, to blatantly offend as many people as possible with my entirely biased and unreasonable opinions.

Right, well, we've established that the theory of high school athletics is, in my mind, just fine. That's because, in theory, athletics - which, I may as well just say up front, have very little to offer society as a whole - do not detract from more important things (such as, you know, education). The theory itself hearkens back to the ancient Greco-Roman ideal of "sound mind in a sound body", and, while their definition of "sound mind" may not be quite the same as ours, the basic idea remains the same. The problem arises when too much emphasis is put on the "sound body" part. Seriously, people. We are no longer a society of hunter-gatherers, and, while a sound body is important for overall health, a sound mind is, in the long run, much better for the world as a whole.

I will grant that there are many, many very intelligent high school athletes whose overall academic records are far superior to my own. However, there are also many, many high school athletes who are nothing if not burgeoning murderers and drug abusers. And lord knows we don't need any more of that particular class in our society. The same can be said for any group, of course - there are, after all, plenty of burgeoning murderers and drug abusers in the art, drama, music and journalism departments - the difference being that we are pathetic weaklings who would sooner turn ourselves in than kill a cop while resisting arrest. Thus, not only are we providing a wide-open door into the heart of our society through athletic scholarships and any number of other things (Please, people. Why are we giving money for college to somebody because they can run faster? Running fast is no longer essential to us as a species), but we're also providing them with adequate training - in areas such as being strong and beating people up - to perpetrate the heinous crimes which I so heartily fear.

I will further grant the truth of the assertion that skills more valuable to society than being generally strong and intimidating, such as teamwork and leadership, can be learned in an athletic program. But the fact is, you can get those skills just about anywhere, as long as you apply yourself, and many of the other options available to the average American high school student - chess club, student council, forensics team &c. - have the advantage of teaching these skills while simultaneously enriching the mind. And, when it comes right down to it, this - that is to say, the enriching of the mind - along with providing students with skills essential for proper functioning within our society, is the primary purpose of high school, and anything that detracts from this purpose becomes harmful to the stability and development of that society. Thus high school athletics, practically, if not theoretically, speaking, in taking precedence in the minds of many students and administrators over core elements of education - such as being able to read beyond a sixth grade level - is a bad thing. Q.E.D.