All right, but these are all isolated, freak incidents. On the whole, sports are still a huge, stupid waste of time and money, right? Especially contact sports, which basically just add broken bones, concussions and brain damage to the equation.
A lot of schools agree with that these days, and several school districts have stripped recess of all its fun by banning high impact sports like dodgeball and soccer. By removing any potential threats of bodily harm from physical activity, parents believe they'll prevent their precious little snowflakes from harm. But what they're really doing is making it much more likely their kids will be hurt way more often in the future.
Like muscles, bones need repeated stress to stay strong. Impact sports like soccer and dodgeball deliver enough stress to strengthen bones. A recent study showed that soccer player have much higher muscle strength and bone density than inactive people and even better strength than people who just run. Imagine the benefits for people who play real sports!
Additionally, men at age 70 who had played recreational soccer their whole lives were found to be as fit as untrained men in their thirties. They also had twice the balance of their peers, making them less likely to slip and fall in the shower and break their hip from osteoporosis, a fate that the little pile of adolescent femininity you call a son will probably suffer at the age of 18 thanks to your incessant coddling. Get that kid a helmet and get him on the field, pronto!
OK, fine, but we knew sports were good for the body in general. But that hardly makes up for the fact that jocks are a bunch of dumbasses, right? Well...
College athletics are often criticized for allowing in unqualified students that are only there to play sports. Aren't these supposed to be institutions of higher learning? Isn't that why the textbooks cost a hundred bucks? Meanwhile college athletes are admitted via scholarships, despite having lower SAT scores than the general student population.
Then again... maybe we should be looking at the results. Athletes who entered into college during the 2002-2003 academic year had a graduation rate of 64 percent, two percent higher than 62 percent for the general student body.
The true face of the student majority
Academics criticize low rates of graduation for black athletes, one going so far as to call college sports the new plantation, a sentiment we'll totally co-sign as soon as you can show us evidence of even one slave who went on to sign with the Raiders for $48 million in guaranteed money. But more importantly, while gaps still exist for black dominated sports such as basketball, overall black student athletes benefit even more from athletics than others--black student athletes graduate at a rate of 53 percent compared to 45 percent, an 8 percent benefit.
Some of the beneficial effects are tied to better support systems for athletes and minority hiring in college sports offices, but also the NCAA also uses a sliding scale of GPA and SAT/ACT scores that correct for problems in standardized testing. Hell, even Harvard has added athletics as a factor in deciding admissions at the prestigious school.
So, if your kid applies to Harvard with a dream of being a Supreme Court justice some day, don't be surprised if the Entrance Exam involves a man handing him a basketball and saying, "Now let's see you take this shit to the hole."
Even if you do manage to graduate that's no excuse to get smug about athletes. Sure, they may have had a lower GPA because they didn't spend their nights studying in the library and acing every exam. But because they didn't, they'll probably make more money and be more successful than you.
Education is not linked to success
While spending all your time on class work might separate you from the beer-swilling rabble, the real world is a series of complex human interactions based on relationships and the ability to read other's intentions and emotions. Failure to do so will inevitably lead you to being misunderstood, duped, made a fool of and eventually to a lonely life of isolation not so different from the hermit's existence you made for yourself in your pursuit of success. Enjoy your cats!
College athletes, meanwhile, are developing their emotional intelligence. According to James Shulman, author of The Game of Life: College Sport and Educational Values, college athletes have more self confidence and people skills that allow them to succeed in jobs that require human interaction.
Studies have also found that athletes earn more on average than non-athletes in the fields of business and the military. For instance Harvard athletes, even minorities or those from lower socio-economic status, do better on average than their peers. They are more driven than their counterparts and do especially well in the high paying world of finance.
There is benefit for women too, as 81% of female executives have played organized sports in some fashion. They still throw like girls though.
You can read more from Philip at PhilipRodneyMoon.com
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