School Athletics: A Parable

Imagine a presenter before a group of educators who announces that she has developed a program that will motivate children to strive their utmost for many hours every week and keep their passion and attention levels high; that it will teach them leadership skills as well as how to work effectively in teams; that they will learn how to discipline themselves and motivate others; that, through an iterative process, the program will teach students how to turn failure into a motivator to reflect on and pursue continual improvement; that the students will gain a deeper understanding of strategy, civility in competition, cooperation, psychology, and improvisation amidst rapidly shifting circumstances; and, what is more, the children will consider all of this fun, a part of every school day many of them most look forward to.

Our hypothetical presenter might be hailed as an educational genius who has found a profound means to instill many key 21st-century learning and leadership skills while inculcating student satisfaction and motivation.

Imagine, though, that our presenter then reveals that she has, all this time, been talking about a good school sports program.

All of these benefits, and more, accrue to students every day through well-run, value-informed athletics, which is why sports must continue to be funded in our schools and seen as core contributors to student success in today’s world.


Jim Tracy is Head of School at Rocky Hill School in East Greenwich, RI.

3 thoughts on “School Athletics: A Parable

  1. Alison

    Thank you for addressing this topic! I know our family greatly values the athletic program at RHS and all those who give their time to it! My children have grown and developed immensely from these efforts! Go Mariners!

  2. Susan Wood

    It is wonderful to hear the positive benefits a well run athletic program offer for students overall health and wellness being touted. Hopefully someday soon quality health and physical education and athletics will truly matter in all school systems as a standard core curricular instead of extra-curricular.
    Sue

  3. Brad Boss

    Exercise is a most important part of a young persons developement and the competitiveness of an intelligent Athletic program is extremely Important part of success as one goes on in life. With so many young adults forgoing this for hours on computers or Video games, it only grows what they sit down on as opposed to their overall health from sports and the lessons in teamwork and striving for a combined goal. Isn’t that part of what makes a success in business as well? I think so!!

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