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High School Athletics: Good or Bad Influence? ? In America we have laws, laws against killing, laws against stealing, and its excepted that as a member of American society you will live by these laws. In West Canaan, Texas, there is another society, which has its own set of laws. Football is a way of life. ?
This excerpt taken from the beginning of Varsity Blues, which premiered in 1998, shows the way of life for high school football players. In this movie, Jon Moon played by James Van Der Beek assumes the role of star quarterback after the starting quarterback suffers a career ending knee injury. This movie showed how athletics and athletes have become the center of everyone? s life and how athletes can sometimes become higher than the law. In society today, high school sports have a great influence on the future of students, whether they will or where they go to college. This influence may seem good at the time but later turns into a bad influence, which could end in the student dropping out of school.
In recent years, the amount of violence in sports and involvement of parents has helped to put to much stress and pressure on the athletes. When children reach the age where they decide they want to get involved in sports it starts out pure. The child plays the game because of how much fun they have playing it. Children have no pressure to make the team or to win every game; they play to have fun not to win. However, as the child grows and continues to play sports, parents take the fun out of the game with their constant criticism of their child? s team and performance.
The two main reasons a child plays sports are to have fun and spend time with their friends. Most kids would also rather participate on a losing team than sit on the bench of a losing one. Pressure from parents and siblings cause kids to overexert themselves and injure themselves because of their parents wanting to win more than their kids. Out of all sports injuries seen each year thirty-three percent of these injuries occur in children aged five to fourteen. Four million children seek emergency room treatment for sports injuries and eight million seek treatment from family physicians each year. As kids move from the pee wee leagues on into middle school they begin to learn about organized sports, and if they do not make one of the two teams set up by the school they have no other option or team they can play on.
The pressure of making a team coming form parents and coaches can force a kid into depression and force them to quit playing the sport because of that pressure. The focus of youth sports has changed recently because of parent involvement in the game, originally the focus of the game rested on the athletes but now the focus has fallen upon the parents. Parent involvement in sports has become increasingly uncontrollable and is leading to more violence on the field. The violence shown by the parents is being called youth sports rage by sports psychologists.
This aggression shown by parents compares to that shown by drivers with road rage. Parent involvement reached its peak when to parents got into a fistfight over the amount of contact in their son? s hockey practice. The fight broke out because one parent, Thomas Junta, commented to the coach that he needed to control the checking. He believed that his son had received an elbow after a hard check against the glass, in which the coach, Michael Costin replied, ? That?
s what hockey is all about! ? After practice Junta approached Costin and allegedly grabbed Costin? s shirt and ripped his gold necklace off, leading to a brief scuffle, which gets broken up by rink security. Junta left the building and later returned with? clenched fists? knocked Costin down and proceeded to beat him into a coma.
He beat Costin? s head with his fists and banged his head against the hard rubber mats, while his kids watched. Bystanders forced Junta off Costin but by the time the police had arrived Costin lay unconscious without a pulse; the police arrested Junta on a charge of misdemeanor assault. Two days later Costin died in a coma and the charge had been stiffened to manslaughter; Junta would receive twenty years in prison if indicted. Similar events like this one have also taken place, one involving a former professional baseball player and manager. In April 1999, Ray Knight former Cincinnati Reds coach and player was charged with simple battery, disorderly conduct, and affray (fighting in a public place).
These charges came up after an altercation at his daughter? s softball game which ended in Knight arguing with a referee for 15 minutes then punching him in the face. Sports have also become to big for the athletes and spectators to participate in. Overemphasis on competition has become one of the central reasons why four percent to five percent of twenty five million American kids involved in organized sports drop out of school each year. This rate jumps to ten to fourteen percent when kids hit middle school, which can have the most influence on the child? s life.
This emphasis on sports forces the athlete to think that they have done something wrong or that they do not have enough talent to play on the team. An athlete then pushes their body harder and harder in hopes of getting bigger and better so that they can please their coaches. However, this sometimes ends up in the athlete getting injured because of the strenuous exercise they put their body through for the team. Some coaches even go as far as to give their athletes steroids to help soothe the pain from their injury and allow them to play. However, by playing, the athlete risks further injury by playing on an already injury body part. In society today if you play a sport you are seen different from someone who does not and you are treated different by others.
Some athletes get away with things that a person who does not play sports would not. Maybe they get away with things because they are athletes and maybe they do not receive special treatment. Should athletes be treated different? Or do they deserve to be treated like everyone else? Krucoff, C. ? Youth Sports Shouldn?
t Be About Winning. ? The Los Angeles Times (26 Oct 1998) 5 p. Online. ProQuest. 6 October 2000.
McEwin, C. Kenneth, and Dickinson, Thomas S. ? Placing Young Adolescents at Risk in Interscholastic Sports Programs. ? A Matter of Fact. Ann Arbor: Pierian Press, 1996. 217 - 21. Nack, William. , and Lester Munson. ?
Out of Control. ? Sports Illustrated 24 Jul. 2000: 86 - 95. Robbins, Brian, dir. Varsity Blues. Perf. Jon Voight and James Van Der Beek.
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