Coup de Grace: Athletics are overvalued

News Editor Grace Mottley attempts to end deteriorating institutions and ideas of our society through a Coup de Grâce, a “decisive blow or finishing act,” as she questions the culture we live in. They say the pen is mightier than the sword, so what better way to change society than writing about it.


Education lasts forever, but we still pay more attention to sports teams and the success of athletes than the success of clubs and academia-focused teams. A football game attracts ten times more spectators than a Speech and Debate meet, but the skills Speech and Debate develops are far more important than any athletic ability.

No one will deny that sports are important, especially in a society with a disturbing obesity rate. Athletic teams are not inherently bad, and they do positively impact the lives of student-athletes.

However, participation in clubs and academic teams impacts the lives of students even more positively, and as a result, we need to stop prioritizing sports over other extracurricular activities.

Clubs and non-athletic teams often develop public speaking skills, critical thinking skills, and develop students’ knowledge on the field they want to work in as an adult. These clubs often give members a chance to practice speaking in public, a skill that is necessary in many jobs.

While sports teams may develop similar skills in some respects, these skills are limited to the sports field. Students who develop these skills on academic teams develop them in a similar situation to which they will be used as adults: in workplace scenarios, not on a field or court. Students in clubs and on non-athletic teams learn how to compromise on ideas, how to constructively criticize others’ work, how to plan, execute ideas and so much more.

But more importantly, clubs, such as Amnesty International, teach students how to work as a group in a non-competitive environment. Club members learn how to coexist with people with different ideas than themselves, giving them experience that will prepare them for the real world, when they have to coexist with a roommate or co-workers.

Participation in academic teams can help students figure out what profession they want to go into as adults. Joining clubs or teams, like clay club or Envirothon, gives teenagers insight into occupations that they might not have known about otherwise. A student who joins Envirothon might discover that they really care about the environment and want to become an environmental scientist, for example.

Academic teams like Chemathon or Speech and Debate don’t shoot balls into a hoop or kick a ball into a goal. Instead, they train themselves in the field they plan to enter as professional, working adults.

Sports won’t last forever. Once you reach a certain age where you can’t physically compete, your athletic career is over. Clubs and academic teams may end after high school, but the things they teach and instill in you will be useful for almost the entirety of your life.

Grace Mottley is a News Editor for The Patriot and