Thursday, June 16, 2011

Scholar Athletes

I was enjoying my Sunday morning browsing through sports  (I like opening tabs for my eight favorite sites and sampling here and there from each).  In the Detroit Free Press I came across a (predictable) end of the year "Scholar Athlete" article.  I was thinking how odd this is.  At one level, this a cultural thing-- We extol athletics to such a degree that we have to create fake incentives to acknowledge that "academics" are also important (scholar-athlete awards or eligibility requirements).  I've never seen "Scholar Musician"or "Scholar Actor" awards, yet to distinguish one of these "extra-curricular" areas calls upon skill sets as unique as athletics.  

"Wall-o-plaques" Flickr CC photo by trpO
I value extra-curriculars terrifically.  I played sports throughout school and both of my kids had rich experiences in drama.  I never viewed these experiences as less valuable than, oh let's say,  history class.  I actually see "extra" and "curricular" all of one piece.  In fact I've been trying to incorporate team and performance elements of extra-curriculars into "academics."  And then on the other hand, I would like to see some of our e.c.'s more cognizant of the entire school experience-- play directors and coaches sometimes set up stated or unstated "mandatory" commitments that will elevate their activities to most-important-thing-in-the universe status that precludes kids from enriching their lives with other experiences.

My ideal would be that every student see himself or herself as scholar-ahlete-singer-painter-tech geek or other assorted combinations, and that distinguishing oneself in athletics and somethings else would seem less remarkable.

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