Sports Are Fun. Testing Not So Much.

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I have gone through different stages in my life.

From long-hair to shaved (again, way cooler than bald).  From student to superintendent (I haven’t been out of school since 1972).  From poor to making money and still being poor (why do bills arrive in direct proportion to the amount of money you earn?).clip_image001

Politically, I’ve gone from being a Democrat to Republican to Independent to Disenchanted to Just Confused and Hurt.

I’ve also been through stages regarding the amount of importance I place on athletics.

When I was a kid, there was nothing more important.

My world revolved around anything and everything that involved a bat, ball, club, basket, goal, or a game.

I knew every player (and their stats… and sadly, birthday) in every league.  Including hockey and indoor soccer (Go St. Louis Steamers!!!).

Then I grew up (sort of) and became a coach.  I still took sports seriously, but I began to see it wasn’t the only thing that mattered.

Losing does that to you.

After giving up coaching (I think it was my decision), I became a school administrator (also, my decision… I think).

At this point in my life I began to see athletics were just one of the many things that drove me crazy and made my phone ring (landline… old school).

Sports became less fun and more of a hassle.

I began to see athletics as a bother.  I was confused as to why parents didn’t care about testing as much as they did about sports.

Now I’m starting to come full circle.

Maybe I’m growing.  With age comes wisdom (at least that’s what old people tell young people).  Or more likely, I’m just a little less stupid (I’m so old, I remember when stupid was a bad word in school).

As I head into my golden years, I’m beginning to see there’s nothing more important than athletics.  Especially to a small town.

It’s the one thing that ties people together.

Successful small-town sports are like the Olympics.  People will support them even when they don’t personally know the participants.

Or understand the game.

I don’t have a clue about curling, but I’m the #1 fan every four years when the Winter Olympics is on 27 hours a day (USA! USA! USA!)

Community members behave in much the same way.  They may not like football, but if their favorite bag boy at the grocery store is the quarterback… suddenly they have a rooting interest.

They like the feeling they get when their team is doing well.

I’m willing to bet I could go to any town in America and spot a person wearing their high school colors within 2 minutes.

This is because people love belonging to a group.  This feeling is magnified when the group (team) is successful.

Schools and sports can provide this at a local level.

And at a much cheaper price than college or professional sports.

This is why, now and forever, people will always be more passionate about their kids (or neighbors) playing a game than they will about test scores.

It’s just more fun.

I’m not saying this is right.  I’m just saying this is the way it is.

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4 Responses to “Sports Are Fun. Testing Not So Much.”


  1. Karen
    on Nov 4th, 2010
    @ 11:12 am

    Great post. You keep saying you are going into your golden years, just exactly how old are you??? You might not be willing to say that in public and if not I understand and you are well within your rights.


  2. Melanie
    on Nov 4th, 2010
    @ 5:12 pm

    This is why my Quiz Bowl Team has no support…if we wrestled people as we were answering questions, people might care more.

    Michael Smith Reply:

    @Melanie, Thanks for the laugh.

    And it’s funny because it’s true.


  3. Rhoadzie
    on Nov 6th, 2010
    @ 1:44 pm

    I’m a High School Athletic Director and former Math teacher. I’ve been on both sides of this. I agree the community cares more about Athletics than Test Scores. But they both go hand in hand. In order to get support from the community you better have a great athletic program. They don’t see the direct impact of test scores. They definitely see the direct impact of a win or a loss of a sports team.

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