Get High On Life

Published 12:00 am Saturday, September 1, 2001


Athletics and academics – can they work hand in hand? I had to laugh when I read an article titled, “LHSAA emphasizes cleaning up football games.” (Notice that nothing was mentioned about practice.) According to the news release, Mac Chauvin, the assistant commissioner of the Louisiana High School Athletic Association, wants to put a stop to poor sportsmanship, vulgarity and coaches who stray onto the playing field. The one thing Mr. Chauvin said, and I agree with, is, “Some aspects of football have gotten completely out of hand, and I think society is a part of that.” He also said he looks at a football field as an extension of the classroom. I think it should be, but let’s get real, it’s not. How long would a parent put up with a good chemistry, math or English teacher using vulgarity, yelling at or pushing their child to make a point? The teacher, no matter how productive, would be dismissed, maybe have charges filed against them, and sued. Now, the football field is a different story. Believe me, it’s not an extension of the classroom. However, I agree it does reflect our society. Winning at any cost is the bottom line, and please spare me the reasoning that it builds character. Yes, many kids survive with their good character intact, but many young athletes’ character is destroyed. Are the coaches totally to blame? No. Again, it’s society, the school administrators and, most of all, the parents. It’s time we admit that athletics take top priority in most schools. Booster clubs are more active than any PTO. Winning coaches can just about call the shots are any school and don’t have anything to worry about with the new crackdown on the rules. If they continue to win, their jobs are safe. Losing coaches, on the other hand, are the ones who should have a concern. The enforcement of the rules will be a good excuse to get rid of you. Can athletics and academics go hand in hand? It’s possible, but many schools do not demand it. Is winning important? Not only important; to most, it’s the only concern. HAROLD KELLER writes this column as part of his affiliation with the Get High on Life religious motivational group. Call him at (985) 652-8477.