With basketball season on the horizon many Marlin fans are beginning to wonder which players will step up as leaders and, ultimately, how the teams will come together to compete successfully. What a great time of year!
My hat is off to all the coaches and athletes who give our school this extra dimension of excitement and anticipation. The only way I can see to improve on this already great program is to try and reach more students who aren’t inclined to even join a sport. So, in light of recent cries for expanding the sports offered at PAHS, I would like to propose another very different way to have more sports.
We’ve all heard about the benefits of team sports: How they teach cooperation and build character. Well, why not share the benefits of team sports with all students and make it an integral part of every student’s schedule? We are in the business of building character, after all.
So, why use sports to groom only the best and most physically able? Why is so much emphasis put on forming a competitive team that will advance the athleticism of only a few students while the majority of students become spectators? Shouldn’t we be using team sports to help more students develop?
I would like to see organized team sports become a part of every student’s high school experience.
Here’s how it could be done: First of all, the last two periods of every day would be lengthened by about 12 minutes. That means the school day would end at 3:45 instead of 3:20. (OK, now hear me out). That would ensure enough time to cover curriculum each week and free up some extra time - about 11/2 hours each week. Every Wednesday after sixth period all students would put away their books, dress-out, and spend the last two periods of that day competing against each other in sports such as soccer, softball and volleyball, with teachers as coaches.
Being a coach for a short time each week would be a great opportunity for teachers and students to build relationships outside the classroom. As for the students, some would complain and resist as they usually do, but with a little nudging to get them started they would learn how much fun it is to be fit and involved in regular athletic activity.
Kids who are too small, too overweight or just too awkward to make the varsity squad would have to become participants and discover their potential. Many kids see themselves as limited in one way or another. Others just aren’t willing to commit the time or effort needed to be on a varsity or JV team.
An intramural team sports period might blur the distinction between ‘jocks’ and ‘geeks’, and maybe create some unlikely sports heroes. The usual competition between schools would not be replaced, but supplemented by a new kind of weekly sporting event between friends and classmates.
The slightly longer day would be a difficult sell, but I believe that a midweek break could boost school morale in a way only seen at pep rallies or special events.
The idea of instituting a team sports period at PAHS will seem unrealistic to many, but I hope it will at least stimulate some discussion about the importance of athletics for all students.