This weekend my daughter is competing in a Highland Dance Competition before school starts next week. I read this timely article, and have been wondering about how I deal with her school & sports.
Because I follow hockey, I see more and more that North America values its sports players higher than intelligence. The multi-billions that sports players get for a one year contract is insane, but even with recent attempts to cut back (think NHL salary caps), salaries are still increasing. From the article it looks like this attitude starts in school, from both the parents and the school officials themselves.
When was the last time that you saw a high level scientist making more than a million a year? I think the only way to use your brains for money is in business, but a few people would argue that maybe it’s your soul that is worth the money, not your mind. However, in the study they compare musicians with all-star athletes, with community-league athletes.
The first comparison is missing school for sports games. 75% is a lot of times. And this isn’t for everyday class work, but for exams!!! Not only that, but schools are tacitly agreeing with the viewpoint that sports are more important than education by letting them make up later, offering special tutoring, and other special treatments, that the other students may not get (or nearly as much).
Now my daughter, Sweet Pea, does not get preferential treatment for exams from me. In fact, last year this was a tipping point for myself. She was getting lower grades (one C) and I told her if she does not shape up, that ALL of her sports are gone until she can manage her school. She is also (unfortunately for me!) good at sports and enjoys sports so this was quite a threat for her, and she barely squeaked by. However, I’m afraid that this will create a dislike for school, whereas I want the exact opposite to happen. She can have it both, but she cannot see that.
Why don’t schools teach that both can happen? I try to be active, but frankly I deserve to be last picked for sports… I just don’t enjoy them. I prefer individual sports, so I’m not really a good role model for her. Why do we rank athletes & compete in tournaments, but not for academics. Who is the best writer in the school? Which math team can answer the most difficult questions? Cannot schools make academics into a sport to make it fun? Would that solve the problem?
I understand with obesity being the next health crisis to try and get the kids active, but really, is it worth having a society of dumb jocks instead of pudgy nerds? Is there no middle ground or why can’t we have both?