TheTimesTribune.com, Corbin, KY
Most of the country is waiting patiently to thaw from the 2014 deep freeze, which means school closings and game cancellations are taking place throughout much the Bluegrass State.
It gives me the opportunity to address reasons why I believe participation in sports programs are such a vital component to a student-athlete's education.
While all extra-curricular activities play a significant factor in the education process, athletics sharpens and perhaps supplements the mental, physical, and social development of the overall education experience better than almost any school sponsored program.
I firmly believe in the emphasis of parents, guardians, and school officials encouraging participation in sports because the experience not only teaches kids the fundamentals of learning to play a sport, but the lessons in competing and growth as an individual are priceless. I believe that when a student-athlete becomes a part of a team, he/she builds on a sense of inclusion among peers. Self-esteem can be taken to a higher ground and the motivation to achieve success is carried beyond the halls of high school and playing turf and into various segments of life.
Teamwork, in essence, is the science of combining each member's best effort with the goal of accomplishing big things as one unit for the name on the front of the jersey. In this instance, I believe the student-athlete learns to depend on others and learns that being a part of a team or organization requires sacrifice and discipline.
Individual stats and records are always a part of a team's history, but I believe a true student-athlete should always focus on what's best for his/her team or at least have the mentality to succeed as a team player win or lose at the end of the game.
That same principle can be applied and taken with the student-athlete into the work force and into many different areas of life.
Participation in extra-curricular activities can also present scholarship opportunities. As the cost of a college education continues to rise, many seek the assistance of grants and scholarships to curb tuition expenses.
When skills are developed at a young age and the interest remains throughout high school, there is always a possibility that a college coach or even a college admission representative will have something to offer.
Most important, the student-athlete should have a fun experience during his/her athletic career. If you talked to an athletic director at any of the local high schools, one of the top goals of each program, I dare say, would be for all participants have a fun experience. Obviously, winning is much more fun than losing, but that's what makes the experience unique.
I've had many discussions with parents about getting their child involved athletics over the years. Whether it's sports, choir, band, academic team, etc., there is limitless opportunity for growth in many aspects of the education process.
If you are a parent and have a child or more than one child who may be interested in playing a sport, let me encourage you to have a talk with your child about participating. There are plenty of school officials and members of the community who are involved as coaches, mentors, and trained staff who may assist you with any questions that you might have and willing to give you as much information as possible.