January 22, 2013
School systems have funny ways of always getting things wrong. Ask a high school administrator what keeps youngsters in school and their response will probably be as nonsensical as a clown at a business meeting. They don’t know. I am not convinced that they care either. The single most important tool for keeping teenagers in school seems to be the first privilege taken away as punishment. High school athletics are the glue that holds a school together. In a small town there isn’t much more to life than the school sports teams. Grown adults come to watch games even though they know nobody on the team or even in the school. The sports teams take on a life of their own, separate from the school. When a team makes the playoffs the whole town buzzes as if some millionaire is coming to hand out one-hundred dollar bills. Kids that are lacking structure and a feeling of community at home can have that in their sports team. The team environment teaches more than can be taught in any classroom, and to the participants, they are just having fun. Most importantly, you cannot skip school and play sports. It just doesn’t work like that.
High School is a terrible time for a young person. The terribleness of making “The Decision”; Do I wake up, smoke some weed, eat a pop tart, then sleep four more hours, or do I wake up, take a shower, and go to school? The decision is easy in that context. Who doesn’t want to be lazily waited upon by a parental unit, not have to get a job, and get really high, all at the same time? The problem is that skipping school to get super high and be lazy is frowned upon. I think back of the times that I had made the decision to go to school and I come to realize one thing. High School does not give young people many reasons to attend that appeal to their sense. The “go there to see your friends” rationale doesn’t come off well when your friends are of like...