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Stigma Around High School Sports

Jack Anderson, Staff Writer

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In today’s society, stigmas are present in many areas such as the workplace, school, at home, and most certainly in sports. The main stigmas in sports in high school are race, gender, weight, culture, age, talent, etc. High school sports are much more competitive and serious than at the elementary level, leaving kids stressed.

Making the transition into high school sports is a huge step for many people. The difference with high school is that there are varsity levels, junior varsity levels, and even some sports have a freshmen level. Regardless of the level, they are all very competitive. Sports at the high school level are much more of a commitment than rec hockey or basketball. Practice is weekly, if not even daily, which may be demanding if you have a folder full of homework waiting for you when you get home. Then there’s the stigma that follows sports which may add more stress and uncertainty to teen-lives.

Although there are many factors to why kids choose ice hockey over basketball, or track over lacrosse and vice versa, it should really come down to you doing what you love. However money is a factor for many low-income families, so some kids play the sports that they can afford growing up, and what is easily accessible in their childhood. Then, when they get to highschool, trying something new that they haven’t grown up playing is scary. With all the financial issues and accessibility out of the picture, do what YOU want and what you have interest in if you can.

Another stigma that poses an issue is gender. High school is often the last time people participate in sport, so your gender should not hold you back from playing a sport that interests you. For example, field hockey is a “girls” sport and football is a “boys” sport, but this stigma shouldn’t exist if you are engrossed in a sport and have the talent you should not allow your gender to stop you from playing because you are definitely allowed to play any sport you have passion in. Also if you are so above your peers that the competition is slim and you want to participate in the opposite genders league you should go for it if you’re allowed, as you may even stand out there.

In high school there are many age barriers, like not being able to play on jv or varsity if you’re an eighth grader or a freshman, or not being allowed to play on JV if you’re a senior. Then there’s the age stigmas that shy people away from doing what they love. Many student athletes don’t even try out for sports in fear of being the junior on JV or the senior who didn’t make the team, but that shouldn’t steer anyone away if you truly adore something and have fun while doing it you should go after it no matter what. These stigmas shouldn’t scare anyone if you’re happy with what you are doing nothing else should matter. This is also followed by the fear of a younger kid making the team over you, which shouldn’t matter because a lot of the time the coaches pick the younger ones who have the same amount of talent or less as you simply because they are younger and the coaches want to develop them through more years on a higher level team.

Another stigma that guides student athletes in the opposite direction of trying out for a sport they love is weight. Weight doesn’t necessarily matter in a sport like football and it shouldn’t in any other sports. People may say you’re too fat for this sport or you’re too skinny for this sport, but none of that should be of importance if you work hard and have the talent to compete; why would your size come into the equation? Altogether you should never allow a stigma to hold you back from doing what you enjoy and are happy doing, don’t listen to the outside voices, look straight ahead and do as you wish.

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Barnstable High School's Award-Winning Student News Site
Stigma Around High School Sports