As a boy I played a lot of sand lot stuff, but I was never an athlete to play on
a high school team. My neighbor boy dropped 4 points on his ACT and his grades
declined after a concussion playing basketball with bigger kids. Studies show
soccer has as many concussions as football and worse in girls. So be careful
before you send your child to sports. That is not to say I don't
love a physically fit girl or boy.
Frankly, I think we need to de-emphasize sports in society in general.At one time, sports were a gentlemanly endeavor to promote teamwork and
physical health. Today, most all sports are hyper competitive to an unhealthy
level, require an undue amount of time and money, and too often result in
lifelong injuries. Public schools and taxpayer colleges devote massive amounts
of limited resources to sports. Those who perform well in sports are too often
given a pass in the classroom or even for criminal conduct.If we
would move away from inter-scholastic and inter-collegiate semi-pro sports to an
all access, intra-mural paradigm, sports might regain their former benefits.Until then, I think the benefits of teamwork and leadership are more
readily available to far more, at much lower risk/cost via music, academic
competition, scouting, and other activities.That all said, girls and
boys should be provided opportunities to participate in whatever wholesome
activities they like. Some will choose sports, others will choose something
different. Nothing wrong either boys or girls not being interested in
competitive, team athletics.
Overall, a very good article. I only question one small portion."Research shows that at every age (children, teens and adults) males are
more likely than females to see themselves as leaders."Well of
course they do. Dr. Madsen, surely you're not arguing that these
differences are unrelated to biology? Dominance behavior is baked into our
genome and it differs between men and women. If you want to argue
the value of sports and leadership ability notwithstanding biology, that's
perfectly reasonable, but please don't imply that in our "ideal"
state men and women are the same. We aren't.
RE: "We should encourage girls to play sports"...---I
believe we should encourage girls to play sports, or to NOT play sports,
whichever they choose. We should just encourage them, whether they decide to
play sports or not.I know some families that belittle their girls if
they don't choose to play sports. Then they compare one girl to another
if they DO decide to play sports. That's not good for some girls. Not
all girls are the same. And the same goes for boys BTW.
Very good story here. Girls in their developmental years have far fewer
opportunities to learn "teamwork". It is getting better, but still not
the same. Learning how to work as a team, to do your best, even when you know
you likely will not win, reinforces the character of being strong regardless of
the circumstances. In particular in the "field" we are
seeing the difference between boys and girls in their ability to tough through
hard times and fulfill their commitments. It shouldn't be so... but it is.
Sports is one way young ladies can learn these attributes.