Grand Valley State University
As an increasingly relevant part of society, sports seem to find a way into many parts of our everyday lives from the global stage to our own individual experiences and feelings towards them. Not only are sports and athletic competition used for the purpose of entertaining, but the core values of athletic competition are reflected also in the mainstream cultural values in society (Snyder & Spreitzer, 1974). Some of these values include striving for excellence, fair play, sportsmanship, hard work, and commitment to a goal, and all are applauded in virtually every area in society outside of sports. Another interesting point to be made about athletics in society is that those who seem to excel in an area of athletics, and participate competitively in sports, seem to be held to higher status than those who are not viewed to be athletic. This trend can occur as early as middle school (Eder & Kinney, 1995), and often continues through high school (Zentner & Parr, 1968), college (Finkenberg & Moode, 1996), and even beyond college in professional sports as many dream of one day becoming a professional athlete (Stiles, Gibbons, Sebben, & Wiley, 1999). Much has been written about the relationship of sports and society in a broader sense, but little has been discovered through about the role of athletics as it relates to academic outcomes for adolescents. Even less is known about the specific benefits of athletic participation that may exist for various students of different racial backgrounds. What is currently assumed in the literature is that participation in sports benefit adolescents academically in a number of important ways. First, it seems that sports participation enhances students feeling of connectedness to one’s school. Secondly, sports participation seems to promote its own intrinsic value on students. That is, students who are able to find structured
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