Sports Above All Else?

Sports are a right of passage at Cherokee. Friday night lights are the pinnacle of the week, and all of Marlton gathers together to cheer on our football team. Sports are a focal point of our community, with people traveling far and wide to urge on the Cherokee Chiefs. However, this “fan club” does not extend much further than that. Clubs lack support, and as a consequence, proper funding, unless service hours are promised.

Recently, I heard about Cherokee’s former Diversity Club and the amazing things that it once encompassed. Kids from all different races, religions, and backgrounds came together and inspired change both inside and outside of the classroom. A group of teenagers came together and made a difference because they wanted to. No one was making it mandatory; it was a choice. Yet, after the original group graduated, it slowly deteriorated and eventually became null and void. Students had to spend more time outside of the classroom, and teachers were not happy. On the other hand, sports teams are always allowed to leave school early, causing a major discrepancy between the experiences of athletes and club members. It is inevitable that there will be times during the year when learning is interrupted, but why are athletes allowed to leave so frequently?

It is unfair how sports are put above all else. Some of my closest friends play or have played sports at Cherokee, and I love being able to support them, yet it is hard for them to support me and my clubs. There is not always an outlet to show how hard club members work like a game shows how hard athletes work; however, students do not gain more fulfillment out of a sport than a club simply because a game portrays physical exertion.

Sports and clubs benefit students in the same way, teaching cooperation with others and effective communication skills. Ultimately, they create lasting connections. Making one a priority over the other does a disservice to anyone involved in the activity, but if sports will always come first, what does that mean for a club and its purpose? For example, a club like Renaissance connects Marlton together through student volunteering. Students have the opportunity to give tours to incoming freshman, donate gifts to senior citizens, and partake in other activities that all leave a lasting impact on the community. These opportunities inspire so many students to follow in these footsteps and dedicate their lives to helping others as well.

Rather than make sports a priority over clubs or vice versa, everything needs to be equally valued. They both give an adrenaline rush when something great is accomplished, so there is no reason to undermine one in order to put the other on a pedestal. At the end of the day, don’t we all want to do things that make us feel alive?