This statement was made at the local high school last night during a presentation for parents and student athletes on the subject of college recruiting practices and the strategies required for students to ensure they are visible to all colleges for consideration.
The statement opened for a detailed explanation of the advantages of teamwork, coaching, mentoring, peer support, goal setting and personal satisfaction from achieving/exceeding team standards that althetes get earlier in life than many students who don't participate in sporting activities.

Since there is no way to post a poll here in this forum (Too bad, it would make a great chart) I'll just ask the respondents to state whether they played sports in high school or not and whether or not they played sports in college.
I'm curious if it is in fact true that althetes (former athletes) do indeed, rule the world.

Thank you for participating.

dfwcanes's picture

High school Sports Yes--- No college sports. I love reading coaches take on sports and business.

I definitely use the principles I learned from sports. I preach team work overall

BarryDeutsch's picture

I'm not sure I would with the post title of Athletes rule the world. There are probably many fine leaders of non-profit, civic, and business organizations that did not play high school sports.

However, as a coach of a high school girls basketball team, I can attest to the life skills that high school sports bring to young men and women that sometimes those who have never been through the experience -- never grasp or develop the critical traits to enable them to be successful.

I've seen this in my own daughter who just went off to college. She came into high school basketball as a shy, introverted, reactive individual and left supremely confident, extroverted, and highly proactive just to name a few traits. She can get along with anyone and has highly developed group problem resolution skills. She understands deeply the meaning of giving it your best all the time, never giving up, overcoming adversity, fighting to the very end for something you want, positive competitiveness, sportsmanship, commitment, and intensity of effort.

She would probably not have gained or developed these traits as effectively if she had not played a high school sport.

Most of the girls who come back and visit the coaches after being away at college or entering the workforce - 2-5 years after high school - come back and thank us for the life skills they learned while on the team and how much it has helped them - they never talk about how much they enjoyed playing the sport - it's the lessons about life they took with them.

Barry Deutsch


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NickA's picture

Does Dungeons and Dragons count as a sport?  If so, I'm an athlete :)

jhack's picture

While sports can teach teamwork, etc, the flaw in the reasoning here is that ONLY sports can teach those things.

Debate, newspaper, music/band, community service, and a host of other extracurricular activities can also build self-confidence, teach teamwork, etc.

Some colleges are more sports-oriented than others, of course, but what most admissions officers look for is that the student is engaged in something, that they aren't just doing the classwork.

My alma mater admitted musicians. Journalists, debaters, and those who had to work to support their families, along with the athletes. The mix made for an education in itself.


John Hack

rsshilli's picture

I dabbled a bit in Rugby for 2 years in High School and one year in college, definitely against my parents' wishes who wanted me to concentrate on music and academics.  I have distant cousins whose family was the opposite, my 3 cousins had had to play at least 3 sports (their father was a high school gym teacher).

I earn twice as much as all three cousins combined.  They have this strange ability to waste time.  They're constantly goofing around on Facebook and shopping for their next car.  If their printer has a paper jam, they will wait for months for me to fix it (I often have to figure it out myself by trying to print). 

"How long has your printer been broken for?"  

"Since February"

"Why didn't you fix it?"

"I don't understand such things.  I figured that you'd fix it eventually."

Maybe they are just bad examples, but I won't be requiring my kids to play 3 sports in school. 

maura's picture
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John Hack has once again said what I came on this thread to say, and more eloquently than I would have done.  So +1 to you as usual John!

Now to answer your question, Eastbayrider:  High school sports yes... but not "team" sports, per se - I was a runner.  I would have run in college too but for a knee injury.  To me all those sports that involve balls and goals are just silly metaphors for war, and require there to be an "enemy", so "we" can beat "them".  Bleh, who needs it. 

I'm competitive and pretty independent, more focused on improving over past performance versus how it stacks up to others...I don't know if that came from running or if running appealed to me because I already had those qualities.  To me, life is about the journey, doing better today than yesterday, and not about whether I or "we" can beat somebody else. 

The team I manage is pretty diverse, but most of them come from this self-improvement perspective.  We're a group of software testers who typically work independently, each assigned to a different project.  So it serves us well.  And we do rule.

cruss's picture
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This is obviously true because I didn't play any sports, and last I checked I don't rule the world.

Hold on, let me check again just in case.


Yep, still don't rule. Must be the lack of sports. ;)

Canyon R

eastbayrider's picture

The statement was made at a meeting for student atheletes. The statement was a shock attention-grabber to help student atheletes identify future success in themselves due to the life skills they are already developing. Naturally the speaker would tailor the speech to the audience (atheletes) compared to a speech given to the general school population (everyone can be a winner). I'm sure there are many former members of the chess club leading very successful careers and we're all familiar with the dumb jock stereotype who probably pumped your gas this morning.

FWIW both the director of Engineering and the VP of sales at the company I work for played high school hockey. The CEO/owner and the President and the GM did not. They didn't have to learn any of these skills. They only had to inherit the company.

ShannonCorin's picture
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I didn't play high school sports, but I was athletic and played in PE.  In 7th grade I realized how important it is to not just pick the best players, but to assemble a team.  Rugby happened to be the sport that day.  I was the captain.  I not only had to pick a team, but also decide which positions each teammate would play.  I put each in a position that played to their strengths.  Needless to say, we were successful even though we didn't have the best players.  The pride I had of the team I put together and lead to a win was tremendous.  I don't know if I would have had that realization at that early age in another venue.