A Defense of Athletics
By: Kelsey Sullivan '08
Kelsey Sullivan '08, a V form prefect in Stanley House and Athletics Representative to the Student Council, disagrees, saying that athletics are an opportunity for many students to learn more about themselves through competition.
Lawrenceville students tend to be successful. No matter which aspect of the school we choose to push ourselves in, we aim to be the best. Though not all Lawrenceville students are athletes, the merit of athletic participation is not just measured by the tangible victories on a particular field or court, or the number of hours spent practicing each week. Athletics are about setting boundaries, both physical and mental, and striving to push those limits. The physical and mental aspects are ultimately tied together, and sports serve as a catalyst for learning about ones own limitations. Success at Lawrenceville cannot be measured through achievement in one particular field at the school. Lawrenceville strives to develop successful people and leaders, and I would argue that the sports requirement is a step towards reaching that goal.
Obviously not every Lawrenceville student would choose to spend their days playing sports if given the choice, however, with Lawrenceville's wide array of athletic choices, every student can find something they can enjoy. Some argue that because there are students whose passion is the arts, they should just pursue that passion everyday instead of sports. As a school with eight hundred students, Lawrenceville has a responsibility to give its students opportunities to not only succeed, but it also has the opportunity to let students push the limits of their comfort zone. Students are held accountable to their teammates, their coaches, and their opponents when they are on a team. On another note, physical fitness is key for everyone to stay healthy; an athletic requirement promotes that. Any student can attest to the face that while there are many benefits from learning in the classroom, the classroom is hardly the only place we learn. Life is about learning and we do that through different experiences. You can't learn to be a leader by reading a book, and you can't develop social skills by spending all your time studying.
Lawrenceville offers more opportunities than just one person could take advantage of (arts, drama, athletics, community service) but House sports offer students the opportunity to exercise while reaping the benefits of a team sport and House bonding. I would argue that the commitment of a House sport, an hour a day, three times a week, would not hinder anyone who is truly dedicated to the pursuit of their passion. The commitment is hardly a burden and leaves plenty of free time to pursue arts, academics, or any other activity. Though there is a difference in the arts and athletic requirements of the school, the two fields fill separate spaces in our curriculum, Sports serve as an extra-curricular, while arts fill class time. Since our school does not offer physical education courses during the school day, it is only fair that we are mandated to challenge our bodies through the requirement of playing a sport every term.
Education is not just about what we learn in the classroom. It is about what lessons we can learn in every aspect of our lives, and how we use them to succeed in future endeavors. Teamwork, whether gained through a sports team, or the teamwork that will be required of us once we reach the "real" world, the lessons we learn from each other now will promote our own successes later. Graduation from Lawrenceville is not just about excelling in one aspect of school life. Whether a scholar athlete or scholar artist, or just a well rounded Lawrentian; Lawrenceville is a school that strives to produce great leaders and great citizens. As the future leaders of the world, we should take every opportunity that is offered to us to pursue greatness.