A Common Cause: Sports and Academics

Sports (or physical sports) is any forms of normally competitive physical activity that, though offering little in the way of direct competition, aim to use, develop or improve certain physical skills and ability while also providing entertainment for participants, and sometimes, spectators. Sports can take many forms such as motor sport (car/race) to weightlifting and bodybuilding. Sports can also include sports that are perceived as ‘contact sports’, such as wrestling or boxing. Though the development of sports is largely dependent on the interest of participants, the development of specific sport specific skills requires significant training and practice to master, and these skills can only be learned from competition.


While each sport will develop specific sporting skills that cannot be developed through normal activity, they all share a common aspect of using the body in ways it is not naturally intended to function. Commonly associated with sports, especially in contact sports, is the sport of wrestling or boxing. Wrestlers and boxers utilize every part of their bodies to throw, hit, block, punch, throw, and wrestle other competitors; the sport of fighting is essentially exercise for the muscular endurance and reflexes of the body and the mind. Similarly, each of the games we play (football, soccer, tennis, cricket, basketball, ice hockey etc) requires the use of our hands, feet, elbows, shoulders, etc and is an example of an athletic activity.

One can draw a number of conclusions from the examples above. Sports can be both enjoyable and potentially very beneficial to our mental, physical, social and emotional well being. The widespread trend of ‘sports’ within American high schools and colleges over the past 20 years has steadily risen, and with this trend a corresponding increase in educational opportunities for talented athletes to develop their athletic prowess and refine their motor skills. The obvious benefit of playing sports is the development of athletic aptitude, but the less obvious but more profound benefits of playing sports, particularly in middle schools, are the development of skills like responsibility, self-discipline, teamwork, competitive spirit, discipline, leadership, and much more.