The skills acquired from sports help students focus on their goals and stay away from bad habits.
Student athletes must meet specific requirements to join a basketball team, soccer team, and any other school sports team. For example, to participate in most sports, students are required to have a certain grade point average (GPA), and the number is even higher to qualify for athletic scholarships.
I think director of sports at the University of Bath, England, Stephen Baddeley, said it best in an interview with The Guardian: “The mind wanders when doing essays, but if you develop a focus and know you have to use your time efficiently, then it’s a very transferable skill.”
Coming from the Dominican Republic, where low income children have scarce educational opportunities, I’ve noticed that many of them focus on improving every day with a dream of being like David Ortiz, Sammy Sosa, Alex Rodriguez, among many other baseball stars.
According to topendsports.com, the Dominican Republic has the largest number of professional baseball players, with many ending up in the United States playing in Major League Baseball. Throughout Latin America, young athletes spend hours practicing to get better on the field. In Cuba, for instance, a baseball player’s dream is to sign with any league because that’s the only way to leave the country.
Many international students study at Miami Dade College under student visas through sports. One of these students is Pamela Michelle Jaime, 19, who is a psychology major and came from the Dominican Republic with a scholarship to study and play volleyball. She says she came for the opportunity to study in the U.S., learn a second language, get exposure to different cultures and do what she likes. Jaime also said that playing sports gives her a lot of self discipline that she can use in her daily life.
Offering sports in high school is a great way of keeping students focused on their goals. The responsibility of meeting requirements challenges students more in every aspect of their lives. According to a survey conducted by the Minnesota State High School League in 2007 and reported by the National Federation of High School Associations, the average GPA of a high school athlete was 2.84, while a student who was not involved in athletics had an average GPA of 2.68. Student athletes also develop other skills like time management, concentration, leadership and learning when to take risks.
Practicing sports not only gives students discipline and something to focus on, but also the opportunity to have a career outside their native country, interact with different cultures and learn a second language.