Sports Pave a Positive Path for Students


Blaiz Blackston

When I was a student athlete, playing my sport bettered my academics and my outlook on life.

Sports have the power to better a person’s life. All it takes is attending that tryout. 

For athletes who struggle in the classroom or at home, their sport is an opportunity for change. It allows them to connect with friends, push themselves out of their comfort zone, and build a team mentality while enforcing a sense of discipline.

Most importantly, participating in a sport holds student athletes accountable. Within a sport, an athlete learns to be on time, hold themselves to the standard coaches expect, and not let teammates down.  

There are academic quotas that athletes have to meet. At the high school level, student athletes must maintain a 2.0 unweighted GPA and be in class for three periods a day, according to HCPSS policy. 

 Not meeting these standards can get an athlete suspended from games, or worse kicked off the team. 

During my freshman and sophomore year, I played football and lacrosse. While playing these sports, I had less time to study and do my homework. I knew that I had to pass my classes in order to stay on the team. So, I did. I put the same grit I had on the field into my schoolwork, and it worked in my favor.

These rules set in place teach athletes a sense of accountability, which is necessary to have a solid team mentality. These measures of discipline and accountability not only build better athletes, but better people too. 

Holding the status of a student athlete places a reputation on a student that they must uphold outside of the building. In high school, sports are a large part of a school’s reputation in their surrounding area. The players have the pressure, but also the privilege of representing their school. 

I have also seen sports help people find their best friend in the people they would least expect. I have been able to form bonds with people from different schools and cities, socioeconomic statuses, and religious backgrounds. 

Boys Varsity Lacrosse players juniors Elijah Dean and Carl Jones bonding during a time out in the Cat’s game against Centennial. (Blaiz Blackston)

Even though I do not play a sport anymore, I continue to feel grateful for the connections I created through playing. When you are on a team with someone, you share a sense of understanding. You are winning together, losing together, and getting better together. 

I met my best friend through football. Though we were from complete opposite sides of the globe, I was able to connect with him over our love for football. Being on the same field and facing the same challenges made our bond significantly stronger.  

Sports have given me the chance to learn to hold myself accountable, represent my school, and create strong bonds. These are skills and lessons that I will carry with me for the rest of my life.

Sports make a person the best version of themselves. If you ever get the chance to pick up a ball, stick, tie a pair of cleats, or run the bases, do so because you will ultimately be a better person for it.