Sports And American Culture Essay

Even in high schools—especially in high schools—academics usually fall by the wayside, pushed to the periphery of students’ consciousness by a culture that simply does not value education enough.This pattern may be traced to a misguided belief in the mutual exclusivity of sports and academics.

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Merely by consuming popular culture, Americans may come to believe that people who succeed in school cannot succeed on a sports team, and that they should emulate the athletes instead of the nerds. After all, sports understandably make for fantastic TV.

The American obsession with televised sports further exacerbates the problem. The implications of America’s enthusiasm for televised athletics extend far beyond the entertainment industry’s domain.

“Me and my four or five friends took academics very seriously,” says 2010 Harvard graduate J. However, beyond the intricately-wrought gates of Harvard and other such American universities, all too many American students are less concerned than they should be with academics.

At a school like Harvard, such a statement is not uncommon.

In the nerd-athlete clashes, the athletes usually win in the court of public opinion.

Though occasionally dumbed down, they typically have redeeming qualities.

“Me and my four or five friends took academics very seriously.” J. finishes: “We were the exception.” Too Cool for School? Considering the accessibility of TV and other sources of mass culture, it makes sense that TV portrayals of academic intelligence would silently extend into the American psyche.

Sheldon Cooper and his 187 IQ make The Big Bang Theory one of this fall’s most popular TV shows.

This increase from 2010 to 2012 is no outlier; athletic participation has increased for twenty-two consecutive years. walked away with more gold medals than any other country.

While sports participation has risen, American educational rankings in comparison to other countries across the world have troublingly continued to plummet. Yet Americans accept not first but 31st in global math education, 23rd in global science education, and 14th in reading when compared to these global competitors.


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