School sports good for players and spectators

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Itís fall, even if itís just beginning to feel like it outside, and that means kids are back in school. And the beginning of school means the beginning of school sports. Fields, gyms and pools all over the Basin are filled with students honing their skills and getting back into shape. Right now they may be fine-tuned machines or they may be all thumbs and left feet, but by the end of the season those kids will be changed, probably for the better.

Study after study has shown that kids who participate in sports benefit in a number of ways. Academically, sports participation is linked to higher test scores, better grades and more consistent attendance. Student athletes also see better opportunities in higher education, not to mention the possibility of scholarships for the best athletes. But the benefits are also internal, as sports improve a studentís self-esteem and social connectedness, while lowering their risk of depression, suicide and other pitfalls. And the most obvious benefits are to the studentsí physical health, with decreased risk of obesity and improved stamina, coordination and overall fitness.

So we know sports are good for kids. But in the Basin, they have another payoff as well. In a small town, the school sports are integral to the identity and sense of community. You donít have to have kids in school yourself to enjoy watching the hometown football or basketball team whoop up on its rivals. And when the team does well, the whole town celebrates. Itís part of the glue that holds a community together.

So put on the school colors, head down to the field or the gym and cheer for the kids in the uniforms. Itís good for them, and itís good for the community.

ó Editorial board

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