Do you really believe that high school football programs are beneficial for most children? Today the number of seats available for your child at a university are shrinking rapidly, and the time when “C’s get degrees” is over. To be successful in college, you need the time to study.

Now I am not going to tell you that the knocking around is a bad thing. Not all boys are the same, and some really need to be hitting each other in a safe manner rather than doing it in an alley. I also believe a certain amount of exercise is important for boys, or they have a nasty tendency to lose focus, which results in parents drugging them to get them to calm down. Although that may seem to solve the problem, it’s not as good as natural methods which focus that energy.

The problem with high school football is the schools’ and the coaches’ negative effects on these kids. All you have to do is track the grades of the kids on the entire football team, and then follow up with how many were accepted to a university. I challenge our incoming superintendent to publish the grades, GPA and SAT scores of every player on every team without showing their identity. My nephew was one of three kids with a GPA above 3.6 on the football team in all grades. That’s because the coach didn’t seem to care about the grades.

That’s the problem. Some coaches care more about the team than the players’ futures. When a football player asked if he could get out of class for a week to go back east to tour colleges, all the teachers encouraged him, and found ways to allow him to make up the work. The only teacher that wouldn’t was the football coach. This student was told that if he missed a week, he would not get an “A” in the class, and wouldn’t be allowed to play anymore. That student did not fly back east to tour colleges, and as a result, may have missed some great opportunities.

What you have to ask yourselves is do you want your children to be successful in college, or do you want them to play football? Football players are far from stupid. There are many examples of athletes being scholars. The term “dumb jocks” is unfair. Football requires a great deal of practice, as well as an understanding of a great number of plays. This is especially true if they play multiple positions. You may not know it, but a bunch of chess games are going on at the same time. The amount of time required to be on a team is massive. College students, some of whom work to pay high tuition costs, have only so much time in a day to do homework each week. While playing a sport can teach responsibility and dedication, and possibly help pay for college, if it is all a student concentrates on chances are they are going to lose out.

A buddy I worked with for a few years was a football player with the San Francisco 49s, and had the Super Bowl rings to prove it. He was a hard working, dedicated man. He thought he was genetically gifted for football, until he showed up on a professional team. He told me that in the end, no matter how hard you work, you can never beat genetics. He told me the story of working hard during the off-season, only to have some guys show up hung over and still out-perform him and show greater endurance with no training. In the end, if your child thinks they’re going to get a football scholarship, they’d better understand that only a few genetic anomalies will have that honor, and you might have one on the entire team. The rest will dedicate all that time and sacrifice their grades.

Understand that over 60 percent of last year’s entering freshmen class were women, so a boy’s odds are even lower at the start. Getting into a university requires grades that are higher than 3.6 GPA and above 4.0 for academic scholarships. There’s only a narrow gap between the two. What is below the 3.6 GPA is a tough road. Getting a job today requires a college degree if you live in the Los Angeles area. If you’re not preparing your child now for the last four years of their education, you’re sentencing them to a lifetime of luck or hard work.

We as a people don’t have the option to allow our children to be uneducated. We are Rome, but our power is in decline. Our children will have to compete in a global market where people are becoming better educated, and can speak more languages than “American.”

So maybe take a look at water polo, and see if that keeps them busy while learning how to work on a team that gives them enough time to get the grades they’ll need. From my experience, chicks dig a water polo body.

David Alsabery is trying to remember what that water polo body looked like. He can be reached at alsabery@gmail.com

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