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June 9, 2016: In A Student’s Own Words…

Those who coach or participate in interscholastic athletics know their value.  Recently, I asked an eleventh grade student on our varsity baseball team, Nik Patel, to record a video explaining what he sees as the value of playing for the Plymouth High School Wildcats Baseball Team.  Although we are saving the video for another time, Nik’s words, from his own perspective, are much more meaningful than anything I can write here.

Nik states:

Nik Patel

Nik Patel

“My name is Nik Patel, I am currently a Junior at Plymouth High School. I am also on the Plymouth Varsity Baseball Team.  I would first like to thank President Crouch and members of the Plymouth-Canton Community Schools Board of Education for allowing me to share my thoughts on the impact of athletics on my education here at Plymouth High School.

Sports have been a large part of my life starting as early as when I was 3, playing soccer and now baseball.  Over the years, I have had the opportunity to experience a variety of different sports.  I have had the ability to participate in sports for my school at West Middle School, and now at Plymouth High School.  The lessons I’ve learned and the friends I have made have aided in the development of the person I am today.

Along with athletics, education is very important to me.  My parents have always asked me to make it a top priority.  I’ve worked very hard and taken challenging and difficult classes, whether it be at the Honors level or at the AP level. Independently, the academic load can be very stressful. Finding an outlet, another source to supplement the education becomes very important.

For me, sports is that outlet.  Through athletics, I’ve learned life lessons that have translated to not just improvement on the playing field, but focusing my attention on academics.

Sports has taught me patience.  It has taught me that sometimes I will fail, but that it’s ok.   I’ve learned success doesn’t happen overnight.  It takes hours and hours, months and months of practice to be a champion, to be successful, to become an expert.  This is the case in sports as it is in academics.  The more you practice, the more you study, the better you get.

Sports has taught me the importance of respect, networking, and teamwork.  Each may be defined differently, but at the same time, each is the same.  Realizing I can count on others to help me excel and in turn reciprocate that is very fulfilling.  It’s taught me humbleness and camaraderie.

Some people feel sports takes up too much of a student’s time during high school, and therefore focus on education is diminished.  They feel with increased need for global education in the country, we need to forgo these extracurricular activities.  I would disagree.  I believe we are putting too much stress on students.  College admission is getting more difficult and competitive.  Standardized tests have so much weight put on them.  Adding more stress without providing an outlet is going to provide the opposite effect.

Next year, I will be a senior at Plymouth High School.  My four years will come to an end.  I still remember my first day of football conditioning in the summer of 2013. As I graduate, I will have played sports all 4 years, will have completed 6 AP courses, multiple Honors courses, the STEM Engineering program all with a GPA above 4.0. There are many influences in my life that have gotten me to this point, the most important being my family, but the teachers and coaches in the Plymouth Canton Community School district have played a major role as well.

My younger brother starts at the park in the fall.  His sport is soccer and he is very excited to represent Plymouth High School on the soccer team.  I hope that when he graduates , he will have had the same opportunity with academics and sports that I have.

Thank you.”

Thank you to Nik and all the other student athletes who express what interscholastic athletics means to them via social media, word-of-mouth, or through formal statements like Nik’s.  It is wonderful to be involved with such motivated, well-rounded students such as Nik, and I am thankful to have the opportunity to help Nik and other students find their niche through interscholastic athletics.