Why Do We Have School Sports?

Madelyn Crosby, Staff

If you are like 55% of the student population, you’ve probably participated in a school sport. School sports have been widely popular since 1915, so no wonder so many people play school sports now a days. Many students are more than happy to join a school sports team, but why are school sports even a part of our school systems today? 

School sports were first developed in 1903 by the New York Public Schools Athletic League. By 1915, 177 cities had developed similar leagues of their own. School sports started to become increasingly popular. In the mid-1990s, 450,000 students of all ages started participating in school sports. 

The ideal reasons behind creating school sports are fairly simple. School sport developers wanted to encourage students to have strong, healthy bodies. Sports have been known to teach students sportsmanship, fair play, and teamwork outside of the classroom setting. Students also learn how to have better time management, leadership skills, and determination. These skills could be extremely useful for students when they start dealing with the challenges that come with growing up like getting a job, going to college, and being a successful adult.  

According to the National Federation of High School Associations, “Involvement in either sports or clubs is associated with a 5% increase in Bachelor’s degree attainment expectations.”

School sport coaches have also proved useful throughout the years. Coaches can be positive mentors that can grow close to their student-athletes and give students support when needed. Giving the students an opportunity to play on a sports team also gives students the chances that they need to be an active part of the school and community. Athletes are also offered an opportunity to represent their school. 

“Sports also create important opportunities for students to contribute to the school community, which may cultivate an increased commitment to, or identification with school and school values,” George Taliaferrio said in the article, “Benefits of School Based Sports.”

According to “The Importance of Youth Sports,” article by Bo Hanson, 97% of student-athletes graduate high school, while only 87% of students who don’t participate in sports graduate. Also, 96% of high school dropouts in 14 districts were not in an athletics program. These statistics show that student-athletes are much more likely to graduate high school.

“Participation in PA (exercise) for teens was associated with decreased anxiety and depression and improved academic performance,” Valois said, in “Benefits of School Based Sports.”