Should Teens Be Required to Play Sports?

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Oakdale boys get rough during a soccer game, while Junior Gabby Redpath watches on the sideline.
Oakdale boys get rough during a soccer game, while Junior Gabby Redpath watches on the sideline.

Yes!

by Madison lawson

In a country where the time spent using smartphones and social media surpasses the time spent catering to our basic needs, physical activity should be encouraged at a young age.

According to teachersatrisk.com, “Young people now devote an average of 53 hours a week to technology use–that is more than a full time job!”

If teens are willing to dedicate that much time to Twitter, they have to pay the price: play sports.

One of the most important reasons to play sports is to maintain a good health. In 1980, statistics showed that 5% of adolescents ages 12-19 were obese, while in 2012, the same survey showed that over 21% of adolescents in this same age group were obese. What does this say about this generation’s physical fitness? More importantly, what will this survey show in another 20 years?

It is also proven that teens who partake in regular physical activity are more likely to maintain a good weight.

Researchers at Dartmouth College found that “teens who were active on at least three sports teams in the previous year were 39% less likely to be obese compared with teens who had not joined any sports teams.”

In addition to health, being a part of a team not only allows you to establish relationships, but it creates opportunities for teens to socialize. Being in an environment where you must work together only prepares teens for what’s to come in the work force. Sports teams also teach fundamental life skills like hard work, motivation, leadership, and goal-setting – all of which are necessary in careers and adulthood. The life skills learned from sports can also be applied to academics, allowing kids to excel on and off the field.

In the end, what’s the worst that can happen? You embarrass yourself? Get right back up and try again! No one likes you on the team? Then forget the haters, there will always be someone to talk to. Before you shut down the idea of sports being a requirement, think about all there is. Are you a nature lover? Try kayaking on a nearby river. Adrenaline Junkie? How about horseback riding or surfing? There is an activity out there for everybody!

Adolescent and School Health.” Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 11 Dec. 2014. Web. 12 May 2015.

Rochman, Bonnie, and Bonnie Rochman. “Play Ball! Participating in Three or More Sports Can Cut Teen Obesity | TIME.com.” Time. Time, 16 July 2012. Web. 14 May 2015.

Absolutely not!

by Emily Jerez

Being forced to do an activity is not a good experience for anyone. Kids begin to develop their own interests during their teenage years, and there should not be any activities that teens are forced to do – especially when talking about sports.

It may sound strange, but sports can potentially ruin a teens’ future. According to usatoday.com, “1.35 million youths a year have serious sports  injuries.” Injuries require several doctor visits, which means teens would be missing a lot of school time, affecting their grades, and ultimately college transcripts. To put things into perspective, if a teen suffers a concussion due to a sport like football or soccer, they are required to take three weeks off school (healthland.time.com). This can be detrimental for teens school work.

Bella Tannure, an Oakdale Junior, experienced a severe concussion during her freshman year while playing soccer. She says, “I missed all together about a month of school between doctors appointments and just not feeling well, also I had to drop my first block class. It was a lot harder to focus so work would take at least twice as long.”

Some kids are simply not natural athletes – each individual knows if they are or if they are not. In any setting there is always fear of not being accepted. A large problem in sports is being put on the bench because you are not good enough to be in the game, or not being chosen to be on a team because your abilities are not up to par. Why would teens want to participate in sports if they know they are not good enough or are not comfortable with the situation? This causes stress and anxiety, overall it is not a good feeling.

Pressure from peers and parents should not decide a teens future. Sports should never be something that teens should be forced to do. It should be a fun activity for anyone who is willing to participate, but NO ONE should ever feel pressured to join.

Healy, Michelle. “1.35 Million Youths a Year Have Serious Sports Injuries.” USA Today. Gannett, 06 Aug. 2013. Web. 18 May 2015.

Sifferlin, Alexandra, and Alexandra27 Sifferlin. “Kids With Concussions Should Take a Timeout From School | TIME.com.” Time. Time, 27 Oct. 2013. Web. 18 May 2015.