Editorial: Is GFS Inclusive Enough In Terms of Sports?

Sports can be a controversial topic all over the world, and even at GFS, there are differing opinions about the positives and negatives of school sports and the middle school’s athletics requirements. In seventh and eighth grades, two seasons of sports are required, a reduction from three seasons required in past years. Although it is possible to get an exemption, the topics surrounding required sports and athletics in general typically spark some controversy.

One reason for the controversy is the fact that sports are required. Lots of people don’t like sports, don’t feel comfortable playing sports or just don’t want to be forced to do them. So for many people who are not athletically talented or who just don’t like it, sports become a burden added to their already draining school day. Required sports have at times become a thing for students to complain about, regardless of what sport it is.

Yet requiring sports does have its purpose. GFS really likes its students to be well-rounded (important when applying to colleges), and playing multiple sports contributes to that. GFS also likes its students to be healthy, and playing sports and exercising is a big part of that. Third, because GFS is a small school in comparison to many public schools in our area, requiring sports is necessary to have complete teams—without a requirement, there may not always be enough people to fill every team for each sport. And lastly, our school likes to have talented people. If you are forced to play field hockey and then turn out to be an incredible field hockey player, you may not have otherwise discovered that hidden talent.

In addition to these reasons, we advocate that one of the major values of team sports is the fostering of community. Playing team sports strengthens community through interacting with people around you and forming relationships—many students at our school have found new friends in playing team sports.

However, we have noticed a lack of certain sports within GFS. For instance, there are no dance programs within the realm of athletics. So lots of dancers end up getting exemptions instead. While this may not seem like a problem, by not offering people this option, do some of our students miss out on these particular bonds with their classmates, because we don’t have a dance team? It’s not just dance—there are other activities we don’t offer as part of our sports program. So that as many students as possible can have this opportunity, perhaps GFS should expand its offerings in sports to offer more options.