Learning doesn’t take place only in the classroom

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Posted: Friday, October 5, 2018 6:00 am

According to the Annual High School Athletics survey conducted by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the number of participants in high school sports increased for the 29th consecutive year in 2017-18.  

It doesn’t seem so. Not when stories are circulating of nearby schools in our area with solid numbers who have 12 or 13 kids out for varsity football.  

Not when neighboring Class A schools are able to field only one freshman team for basketball or, in some cases, no team at all. 

Not when schools that based on their enrollments are slated to play 2A football (male enrollment of 101-287 in grades 7-10 for the 2019-21 NDHSAA football plan), but that are talking about playing a JV schedule.  

We are fortunate at Hillsboro-Central Valley. Our numbers, while not overwhelming, have been solid, and have afforded us the opportunity to be competitive in all our activities. 

Still, as I walk the halls at Central Valley, I see athletic kids whom I believe would be positive additions to our athletic teams but who have chosen to not participate.

Why?  

Travel? Lack of interest? Other things to do that didn’t exist years ago (video game systems/internet devices)? Lack of encouragement from home? All of the above? 

Likely, each situation is unique.

Participating in high school athletics is unquestionably not for everyone. 

It offers no instant gratification. It requires an intensive time commitment. In many sports, one must be willing to put “team” above “self.”  

Being coachable is imperative. To reach one’s full potential and excel, one must be willing to work hours above and beyond what is mandatory for being a part of the team.

As a former participant, both as a player and coach, who was fortunate enough to experience some successes going down each avenue, I can point to three positive takeaways that are available to all who choose to participate in high school athletics.

Taking part in high school athletics affords kids opportunities to experience leadership roles and develop skills in teamwork, talents that no doubt will serve them well as they enter an institute of higher education or join the workforce or Armed Forces.

More and more jobs are focusing on hiring team players – people who can be trained on the job, provided they are committed to organizational goals and work well with others.

Participating in extracurricular activities requires kids to become adept at time management skills. 

As a father of a seventh-grader experiencing his first year of being an H-CV student-athlete, I can attest to this. The transition for him, experiencing increased school rigor at the same time he’s required to travel for practices – at times not arriving home until 7 p.m. – has been a challenge. 

I’ve told him several times, “You’ll only get busier. No better time than now to learn how to manage your time.”

Finally, participating in sports is one of the best ways kids can be active, which can lead to developing a healthy lifestyle. 

Being physically fit leads to kids developing a healthy self-image. Confidence is a necessity in being a productive student and having a positive mental state of mind.  

Being a participant in extracurricular activities isn’t easy. 

However, deciding to participate can have long-lasting, positive effects that can extend beyond the playing field.

Brandt is the superintendent at Central Valley Public School.

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