Sports are not a right

Posted By | September 19, 2011 12:00 am

Okay, I have been trying my best to stay off my soap box, but here’s something I have been holding on to and thinking about writing for a while.
I think is the world today that it is sometimes forgotten that participating in sports is not a right, it is a privilege. Our professional athletes often forget and are reminded with suspensions, cuts in pay or even being cut from the team. College athletes are constantly being reminded. Check out the headlines and see how many get reminded of that by being booted from their teams or at least suspended from action.
I think that not only our high school athletes, but sometimes also the adults involved forget that it is the same way, and even more so, with high school athletics.
Not everyone is guaranteed the right to participate on the team. Coaches make the decision as to who makes the team and who gets to play. We don’t always agree with the decisions, but they get paid to do that.
Once you as an athlete are on that team, whether you like it or not, you take on an added responsibility. You may not agree with it, but being on a high school sports team comes with more than just playing well. You are also or should be held to a higher standard in the way you conduct yourselves away from the field or the school.
High school athletes become the face of the school not just in the local community, but also in neighboring communities. When you are out doing things that you shouldn’t be doing, it reflects back negatively on your school and your community. The public don’t see you as “John Doe” the student, they see you as “John or Jane Doe” the athlete.
Doing things that are illegal for you to be doing can take away that privilege of playing high school sports and in my opinion, should jeopardize it. Yes, we are all going to make mistakes, but mistakes usually have to be paid for in some way or another. Maybe it starts out with extra running for minor violations and increases from there.
A lot of schools make their athletes sign codes of conduct that says they will follow all team rules as well as school rules and the legal laws while they are participating and if they don’t, they will be punished.
Never mind the fact that smoking, drinking and doing drugs hurts your performance as an athlete, it also hurts your chance at being an athlete. Those are just a few of the things. The list goes on as far as breaking rules – fighting, stealing, etc.
I would be very careful of the things I say or the pictures I put on facebook. They can really come back to haunt you.
Anybody ever heard of Melrose, Massachusetts? Well back a few months ago, 11 of their varsity athletes got suspended from participating in team sports after photos of them in possession of alcohol or tobacco were seen on facebook. One of those athletes will be forced to miss 60 percent of his this athletic season.
Yes, that’s right. They were at a party at night away from school grounds, but they were doing something they shouldn’t have been doing and now they lost what they thought was their right.
The quote from the superintendent was, “We are not trying to interfere with what happens outside of schools. But if you’re going to represent the school, we expect you to uphold that image 24/7. We understand that people make mistakes, but there are consequences.”
Here’s the thing that teenagers and adults too need to know about face book. What you put on there is there. Sure you can delete it and make it disappear for a while, but the Internet has ways of catching back up with you. You may delete it now, but it’s not gone permanently. Once you put it up, the people who run the thing have it forever if they so desire to keep it. And the thing about those kind of things we put on there that we decided was not appropriate and take off, they show back up at the most unfortunate of times.
I would highly advise that you athletes think hard about the privilege of playing sports. Privileges are defined as a benefit, immunity, etc. granted under certain conditions. If those conditions are not met, privileges can vanish rather easily. It would be wise to remember that.

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