Schools are knowledge hubs which need to provide a holistic kind of education to help students realize their true calling and achieve what they wish to. Sports presents various experiences, situations and opportunities that have physical, social, psychological and academic benefits. Hence, school athletic programs inside and outside the campus serve as a significant aspect to a student’s holistic learning. They provide opportunities for athletic students to further develop and use their skills. They can also encourage other students to discover more about themselves, and perhaps expose a hidden potential of theirs in sports.
As a result, I believe that the athletic programs in SSIS Malarayat should be strengthened more because they are an effective means in supplementing and furthering student learning.
Some individuals in the school community however, would rather disagree as they would prefer a school community that is academic-centric. They believe that athletic programs such as varsity training and competitions would be detrimental to the academic performance of the student/s.
On the other hand, studies have shown that sports help students in their academic performance. It increases blood flow to the brain and helps the body build more connections between nerves, leading to increased concentration, enhanced memory, stimulated creativity, and better-developed problem solving skills. Playing sports helps the brain to grow and make it work better (Khelil, 2015).
In a study of 35,000 student athletes, results show a significant correlation between a student’s participation in sports and his/her attendance record and GPA. On the average, student athletes attended school for about three weeks more per year than non-athletes and earned higher grade point averages by much as 0.55 to 0.74 points (Los Angeles Unified School District, 2012).
“When I was asked how does being in a varsity helps me in my academics I suddenly realized that it contributed a lot to me as a student. It has thought me a lot of things just like managing my time because you have to balance everything out and without acquiring that skill I would really have a hard time. With time management you have to learn also how to prioritize. Throughout of being a student I learned on what is important what is urgent with that I get things done easily. One thing that I instilled in being a varsity is discipline. It will help you all the way in academics or sports because you have to develop a character. With discipline It has made me more committed to practice and just be in attendance in school or inside the court in order to accomplish my goals. Lastly, I think it’s all you because it’s not only taking care of yourself but also taking care of yourself for a better team.” Chloe Perez, member of the volleyball varsity
Ms. Geraldine Pasia, an SSIS teacher, also describes the class performance of his/her students who are part of varsities “In general, I can say that student athletes are learning how to manage and budget their time wisely. In spite of busy sched, classes and training after class, they can still manage to have good grades at the end of the year. They learn how to prioritize things and do the necessary requirements or activities before anything else.”
Additionally, students are required to maintain at least a 3.0 grade point average in order to become eligible to join a varsity. If students want to get on the field or the court, they have to gain that privilege by performing well in the classroom. Thus, playing sports help in motivating students to do well in academics.
There is also a myriad research that proves students need adequate amounts of physical activity throughout the school day not only because it prevents them from having obesity or any obesity-related issues, but it also helps them academically (Spark, 2012). An example: a research of 2,000 respondents aged 6 to 18 looked at how physical fitness, motor skills, and muscle strength related to academic performance. Researchers found that the more fit respondents had higher grades (Park, 2014).
Hence, being part of a sports varsity also has physical health benefits which help student athletes perform better in school. Varsity training occur on a regular basis where drills are practiced and physical energy is used at its optimum for maximum performance for games. The athlete develops physical stamina to be able to be physically prepared for competition.
“Being part of the varsity has many benefits, and of course athletes benefit in terms of health and physical fitness the most. When you’re a varsity member, no matter which sport you are a varsity of, you go under rigorous training to keep your body in top shape so that when you play in tournaments, you perform well. Given that players go under heavy training, this just means that athletes are guaranteed to be physically fit. Being physically fit does not necessarily mean having 6 pack abs or a big body build, it just means that your body is in healthy and that you are in shape to play sports. I used to be a bigger girl, in terms of weight, before I joined the varsity and I was always the first to start panting and slowing down whenever we had to jog. I am currently in the football varsity for 3 years now and through training, I improved my cardiovascular endurance and of course have slimmed down as well. I can now say that being part of the varsity has greatly improved my physical health condition and has made me a better person as well.” Stephanie Fong, member and team captain of football varsity
From a social and psychological standpoint, sports serve as a channel to bring people together, develop connections, and create a sense of community. It encourages fair play and rightful behavior which builds camaraderie with other players. Aside from that, sports teach respect for authority. Athletes are expected to follow set rules. Listening to coaches, referees, and team mates is a skill that one can take from the field or court.
Many studies also suggest that sports can contribute to the development of one’s self-esteem most especially when he/she encountered defeat. Besides imparting humility in victory, sports also instill graciousness in defeat as sports is not just about winning but also about bouncing back and learning from mistakes. With this, sports can help kids become well-rounded, mature adults.
“As a student, we always have our own roles and responsibilities. Some of these are to learn new things every day, to understand every information that you obtain and of course to he a role model in terms of showcasing the right values and moral of a student. It is always a privilege to be a student because you are able to discover new ideas that can help contribute to your personality as a whole However, there are also hardships that are faced by students. Having too much work load, stressing about an exam, lacking motivation and having no idea about what to do are just some of the problems that students encounter. These things can lead to an even worse scenario like quitting school or in some instances, committing suicide. The reason behind why these things happen is because a person can’t balance his/her time for studies and recreational activities. As a member of the basketball varsity, I can say that it is very helpful in terms of the psychological well being of a person if you would be involved in a varsity. When you devote yourself to this kind of group, you will about to showcase your talent and enjoy what you love to do. Not only this. You will also be able to meet new friends at different age brackets. These friends can be your source of motivation whenever you feel stressed about school. In short, joining a varsity can be a stress-reliever for you. Stress-relievers are considered needs of a student in order to avoid dangerous things that a student can do if he/she is tired from everything.” Eisen Villanueva, member of basketball varsity
To sum up, athletic programs, particularly training and competitions, have mental, physical, social, and psychological benefits – all of which helps in supplementing and furthering student learning.
While sports have always been an integral part in school, as shown through our PE classes and existing varsity training, there are yet improvements to make. It must be understood and accepted by all those involved in education that athletics programs, in collaboration with other extracurricular programs, must receive the full support of the entire school community. Although primary responsibility also lies on the student athletes, the total school family shares responsibility for the success and productivity of this program.
This position paper makes a stand to strengthen the athletics program in SSIS Malarayat by providing more opportunities to student athletes through the form of rigid training and competitions to establish a more holistic kind of education.