January 29, 2007


This article originally appeared in the Detroit News: 1/31/1979.

Our competitive society is based on living in a world where one either wins or loses - a world in which there is no middle ground, only the two extremes. I think this type of two-valued orientation contains a simplistic point of view; rather naive in a country as advanced as ours.

The thought may be carried over to athletic circles. American coaches are pressured into producing a winning team. This concept works fine in the professional ranks, but not in our schools. The coaches in our schools should concern themselves with a thoroughly different technique.

First off, sports should build character, teach a person the meaning of accomplishment and achievement while at the same time allow a student to realize he is no less a human being if he loses.

Sports or physical education classes ought not be viewed as punishment lest we produce a generation of students who become apathetic towards it.

Too many coaches prescribe laps around the gym or 20 extra push-ups for the hard-to-conform individual. What about the obese youngster who needs the exercise, yet is the first to get knocked out playing dodge ball?

If winning is so important to the American dream, coaches need to teach students how healthy it is to remain active; and in that way they will be considered winners.

It is time for school coaches to reevaluate their practices and learn from their mistakes. It will be in this way that physical education teachers will develop a defense for their services in the educational system.

Because, in the long run, a population aware of the benefits of preventative medicine, means job security for all of them.

Written by,
Mark S. Rogers, LPC.
Licensed Professional Counselor.

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