Numbers Game

Of the eight million student athletes who play high school sports, about 480,000 will compete in college–a whopping six percent. An even tinier portion of those student athletes will compete in a sport professionally.

Parents go nuts at youth sporting events. They’ll drive their kids six hours for a tournament, spending money at restaurants and hotels along the way, but won’t get out the checkbooks for piano lessons or trips to the museum. Our newspapers frequently dedicate a third of their copy space to sports coverage. Do sports make us happy? Better people? Healthier? Explain the fascination.

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18 Responses to Numbers Game

  1. Zakkaria Reaves says:

    Well, as a huge sports fan, I must agree that sports DO make us happy. I think sports make us happy because being in the competitive environment, is just soothing, especially if one is undergoing personal issues outside of being in the environment. Seeing the team you’re rooting for being in action, especially when they’re excelling and defeating their opponent, is simply a great feeling to experience, especially, aforementioned, during dark times. I also agree with the fact that sports better people. Being a huge supporter of several sports-loving/athletic friends, I can definitely vouch for the betterment of the individual due to their loved sport. Being a close friend of a great basketball player, who made the 2017-2018 Dandy Dozen’s list, I know being an athlete who believes that all they have is that sport, one who treats their adored sport as their very own carried child, it can change you, for the better. Not only as an individual, but as an athlete who is simply trying to perfect their craft to the point of no return. Of course it makes them healthier, because of the constant, long hours, inside of the gym, outside of the gym (on their own free time), and on the court, catching the scouts’ attention, they are becoming healthier physically, as well as mentally.

  2. X says:

    Sports keeps the typical American citizens very happy. It is their form of getaway from their responsibilities. I personally do not own a TV, so I don’t watch sports. I think that sports are overrated, and I find it boring to see tiny men run around on a screen. The players get paid millions for each game they participate in, lasting around four hours; that is 10 times more than a respectable doctor or lawyer who works a 9 am to 5 pm shift every day. Sports do not make the majority of the population healthier. In fact, it actually counters the purpose to those who are not involved in sports. After one gets off from work or school, one usually sits down on the couch and turns on the TV and watch sports and eat popcorn. This is not only a waste of time but also a huge health detriment. I would much rather be advancing my skill in music or knowledge in history. Parents promote sports more than education, and this is the core issue that lies in our society.

  3. Indeed, sports make us happy. Sports are more than just entertainment; they are stress-relievers. When you have homework for Calculus or an essay due for University English, sports are their to relax the nerves and give people something to cheer about. Although, museums serve well for a place of enlightenment, and lessons on the piano can eventually transform an individual to a musician, but it does not compare to the level of sports enthralling and attracting people around the world. It is arguably, an universal language. Everyone would love to see LeBron James dunk on two seven-footers at once, or Serena Williams hitting a 128mph serve, or Tom Brady executing a game-winning play. Overall, sports are undeniably addictive.

  4. Linda Arnoldus says:

    Sports do make us happy. In addition to physical benefits (getting stronger, losing weight, etc.) exercise releases endorphins, making us mentally happier. Every parent wants a strong and happy kid, which is why most kids are pushed to do sports. There comes a point where obsession with a sport can obscure your view from other things, though. For example, spending hours on the weekend playing soccer when you should be studying for the ACT. It is important to find a balance between a sport you like and other priorities in your life.

  5. Erin says:

    I think the sports make people happy sometimes. I’ve been an athlete all my life and I’ve always liked it. Some kids only do sports because their parents make them, but they still enjoy it. The rest of the kids do sports because their parents make them, but they hate it. I think parents make their children do sports because they think of sports as a way to build good habits like exercising and working well with a team. Parents should get their children as involved in the arts as they are in sports.

  6. X says:

    Sports do, indeed, make a lot of people happy. The adrenaline of the action and the satisfaction of learning a new skill holds us close to the sport. Physical activity benefits the body in ways that positively affects it mentally too. It’s an opportunity to develop a passion and grow in a social setting as well. However, it’s disappointing to see the time and money people will give to the sports industry. There are endless opportunities outside of sports. Some families prioritize sports so much that kids are restricted from pursuing other passions.

  7. Kai says:

    People that join and stay committed to sports are sure to enjoy them. Of course it is not always for everybody, but the kids who always looked forward or PE in elementary/ primary school will most likely still enjoy physical activities when they get older. Benefitting our bodies in more ways than one, sports can substantially increase not only our physical health, but mental health as well.
    Sports don’t always make us better people. Instead they cause some to become more competitive than others on and off the court or field , which is unnecessary in some cases. But sometimes being apart of a team makes us people more cooperative with each each other.
    In my opinion, sports are taken so seriously here because us students have been in school for so long that physical accomplishments are more interesting and impressive than academic accomplishments. People look up to sports heroes because some didn’t need a college degree to become successful. It gives people something to look forward to.

  8. Esmond Tsang says:

    Yes, sports contribute more to students than just a means of paying for college as hinted in the blog. Even in society, sports hold a significance in balancing the social and emotional well-being of many individuals. Sports are a reason to gather as a community. Sports are a reason to rise early and promote discipline. Sports are a reason to gracefully accept defeat. Sports are a reason to strike up a conversation. Sports are a reason to maintain fitness. The contributions that sports make are important and fascinating to uncover as each contributes to a person’s life differently. Sports are avenues to express our human desires of competition and happiness.

  9. Eric Lentz says:

    Until about four years ago, my nose was always so deep in a book that I never bothered to care or know anything about sports. Then, I moved out of Arkabutla, MS, to Hernando, MS, and it was as if my whole world changed. I had wifi for the first time, which meant a crazy obsession to Netflix, and my brother took me to a Grizzlies game. This particular “Grizz” game just happened to be a double-overtime win over the Charlotte Hornets in December of the 2014-15 season. I went to two more games that season (one being the game the Grizzlies were eliminated by that year’s eventual NBA Champions, Golden State Warriors, in Game 6 of the Conference Semi-Finals). This exposure to the atmosphere in FedEx Forum, appropriately dubbed “The Grindhouse”, catapulted me into a new world. This discovery coincided with me riding around with my brother who listened to sports radio all the time. This habit caught on with me. In the 8th grade, I remember listening to The Chris Vernon Show on 92.9 ESPN on the bus and at home every afternoon. The full 3 hour 11am-2pm show was put in the iTunes podcast app by the hour. Chris Vernon and his producer Jon Roser were hilarious with their analysis and it made sense to me. Since discovering this world, my dream has been to be one of those guys: cover the Memphis Grizzlies, have behind the scenes access, and have fun while doing it. I can’t think of anything more electric than being in the FedEx Forum during a Grizzlies playoff game. Once you are in a crowd of 17,000 plus people chanting “Whoop That Trick” (not defining in this entry for obvious reasons) heading into a second overtime against Kahwii

  10. Khytavia Fleming says:

    Yes, to all of the above and more. Sports most definitely makes people happier and healthy. I feel people participate in sports for various reasons. Some might want to be “popular” while others might want to impress a girl/boy. Then, there are the people who are forced to play sports, and the people who would die for the game. There’s an excitement to sports that I believe no other art can give a person. The thrill of seeing someone get tackled, getting hit in the head with a volleyball, the several painful falls taken from soccer, etc. We can’t forget about the anger that people show while playing the sport from wanting to win. However, I do feel that there should be a balance between sports and other arts as well. I don’t think anyone is going be 70 playing football, basketball, etc, but there will forever be people sliding there hands up and down a piano or panting in the back of their backyard. Sports are awesome, but one should never limit themselves.

  11. Alicia Argrett says:

    Sports fill a void for entertainment, a sense of belonging, and pride. They have the ability to make us happy because when someone becomes attached to a specific team or sport, it becomes apart of their personal “family.” Especially living in America, a country that has produced some of the best athletes the world has ever seen, it is a huge part of our national culture. All of the hubbub about becoming a successful, professional athlete is completely understandable, however, it does a bigger precedence than it deserves. When an athlete has a salary the equivalent to the Powerball on a good day, that’s a bit much. And the fact that young athletes are being taught to rank the game over the books is detrimental.

  12. Emily Penton says:

    It’s football season and I absolutely can’t wait to watch the Saints play (Don’t come for me. I love my black and gold). I honestly miss going to football games on Friday nights at McLaurin. It was a time to relax, spend time supporting my school, and hang out with friends. However, I noticed at my school some people couldn’t even play because they don’t have the grades to play. They think sports can be the only thing they are good at, but I know if they tried as hard as they did at sports in school they could thrive. Sports are an escape for most people and it definitely makes them healthier, but sports should be just as important as academics. Most high school sports players cannot make a career of it. So even though it’s fun and keeps students healthy, parents need to place an importance on school. A balance needs to be found for student athletes so they can play the sport they love and still do well in school.

  13. Samaria Swims says:

    People have an unhealthy obsession with sports. People will spend long hours inside or outside practicing a sport. I think people playing sports is a good thing, but spending all your time on a sport, and not doing anything else is when sports become unhealthy.People would not eat or sleep because of practicing one sport. Some people can turn it into a huge obsession. Sports can also be a good thing because it makes people healthier physically. People who play sports say that it can be a huge stress relief. If someone is stressing about a test, they could go play a sport, and be ready to make an A on the test the next day. Sports can also help people come together as a team and make more friendships that could last forever. Sports just make people happy.

  14. Catherine Li says:

    Sports such as football became an integral part of the United States as a whole as it represented a sense of pride in one’s state. I personally do not understand the hype for sports as academics and education are far more important as knowledge is what will last the longest. I came to MSMS to get away from a sports-driven high school where all of the budget was spent on the football team and revamping the football field. School spirit was based around when football games were, and everyone was expected to attend the football games in support of the team. It didn’t matter if you took hard classes or had a high ACT score, teachers and administration valued students who played popular sports. I understand the importance of having physical activity in your life such as sports but letting it take over your whole life is unhealthy. There are many things I value before sports, and I wish some schools would always put academics before sports as the students who actually make a career out of a sport are rare.

  15. Taylor says:

    In regards to making people happier and healthier, yes. Sports easily create an environment for children to further their desire for physical activity. It can also greatly improve character building and social skills from allowing the child to be active in foreign environments where they will have to work with strangers and possibly become friends with them. This gives a greater probability of the child diminishing the effects of physical insecurities on their lives. The potential social boost may also allow them to become a part of the system of popularity and friendship that can ward off sad times on lonely days. Though, none of this means that they will turn out to be a better person they were before. There still is a high possibility that these children may become a part of a less-than-healthy group of friends and fall into a classical persona of a “jock” or “heathen”. One can never be definitely sure how a child will turn out when left to their own choices in their childhood, so this can equally apply to most other sports or group activities. There is most definitely a fascination in the possibility of the magnitude of friendships and popularity to be gained from the means of just being on a team of any kind (and more so if you are good). It is also one of the staple-points of the American Ideals: beer, football, and burgers. So, it is fairly understandable why most of those born into this culture are so enthralled in the possible untapped potential within it.

  16. Dennis Lee says:

    It is funny that people described spending money on sports as a bad thing. Welp.
    Okay. Let’s not talking about sports. It is always a heated argument whether students get anything useful from the things schools and parents force them to do. In the United States, it is sports. In China, it is music. All the same in nature. It almost seems like students do these things for no reason. And why do the evil teachers force them to solve those quadratic equations? How many of them do you think study math in college?
    But, you might say, the reason I hate high school sports is because it doesn’t deserve all the money and time parents and children put in it. Nonetheless, this is the true reason that sports do play an important role in our society. High school sports are the foundation of the college and professional sports. The sports industry brings a roughly $14.3 billion in earnings a year.
    More importantly, sports is what shapes today’s America. All it has to do is about the idea of soft power. After the United States won the Cold War, American liberalism had unparalleled appeal around the world. Everyone wanted to vote, everyone wanted jeans, and everyone wanted free speech. Sports is different from the things listed above because it is not an “American only” product. (Truly, democracy – and jeans – were not invented in America, but people think of American whenever these ideas are mentioned.) However, it is impressive enough to see its impact domestically. The whole sports industry supports itself and crosses over into other industries. It is the frontier of pop culture and social evolution, which are as important as sports itself as a human experience. The soft power of sports, which is deep under the surface with the spirit of the nation, is what makes America alive. Sports is the American culture. From my own perspective, if you ask people about their impression of a normal American, it would be a white college dude on the football field shouting.
    Improperly cited sources:

  17. B says:

    Sports nowadays are for leisure time, more than survival. Back in the olden day’s sport or games were to survive and to get materials to survive. We don’t have to take the stress of trying to do something more than actually enjoying it. And is it healthy, of course to a certain degree. I mean it’s safer than the Roman times where they threw a guy in with a wild beast that was starved. with these generations being more and more inside than outside it is good to be apart of a sport or just go outside.

  18. Catherine says:

    I think sports is a fun thing to watch with family. During Thanksgiving break, it’s nice to be with family and bond, or have arguments about which team is better. However, I also think that sitting watching sports for hours can be unhealthy, especially if you’re like me and snack while watching TV. People can also go a little overboard arguing about which team is better. I also think that parents encourage playing sports way too much in their child’s life rather than learning an instrument. Though, I don’t hate sports, I do think they are overrated.

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