The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


The Student News Site of Shawnee Mission Northwest


Including the middle men

If organized sports were to return in middle schools, they would ultimately benefit the high schools.

Think of one of those situations when an awful singer auditions for American Idol.The singer thinks he is good, because people have told him that since he was little. Then this aspiring, but poor singer meets reality face to face and discovers that he isn’t as good as he believed he was.

This was me, but instead of singing I played basketball.

Freshmen year I foolishly believed I was a basketball star, but I really was not good at all. This false hope led me to try out, and ultimately fail to make the team. If my middle school had competitive sports, I could have been saved from a lot of embarrassment and discouragement.

If Shawnee Mission middle schools had organized sports, then I would have tried out for the basketball team at Hocker Grove. I wouldn’t have made it there either, but that would have allowed me to realize I was not good at basketball. Then I could have focused my middle school days on running long distances, which is something that I am actually decent at.

Organized middle school sports would have made the good athletes better, and the bad ones realize that they should not pursue the sport competitively. On top of that, it allows the athletes two years to grow as a team before they hit high school. This is a benefit because most likely, the majority of those same athletes would be on the high school team as well. Middle school sports could improve the athletic competition across the Shawnee Mission School District, and make us more of a contender in sports.

Olathe middle schools have organized sports in the major ones, such as football and basketball. Just take one look at the Olathe schools’ play against Northwest this season. Varsity football lost games to Olathe South, Olathe North and Olathe East this season. Varsity boys’ basketball lost games to Olathe East and Olathe NW.

This all goes back to the fact that Olathe middle schools have school sports. These students had three years (Olathe middle schools go seventh through ninth grade) to play with each other before sports become really competitive. This is a significant advantage.
Freshmen entering a Shawnee Mission school do not have the slightest idea of what they are getting into when they choose to play at the high school level. I didn’t realize I’d have a strenuous practice every day. I was used to playing sports with one easy, stress-free practice a week. However, Olathe’s athletes get a taste of what practice for a high school sport would be like.

Granted, I understand that concerns about the budget in the Shawnee Mission School District leave little room to add an activity while they’re cutting so many others. However, middle school sports can be funded by the participants. Team Swanson is the only middle school sport, as it allows Hocker Grove and Trailridge students to run cross country. The Team Swanson participants pay to run, so it would not be a problem to ask the other middle school athletes to pay as well.

Aside from the money issue, I understand that one of the main reasons middle school sports were removed in Shawnee Mission School District is because nobody wants to have to cut a 12 or 13-year-old. All the middle school administrators and parents seem to stand by the “everybody gets a medal” method. They don’t want to have some win and others lose. Personally, I wish I could have tried out for basketball and failed seventh grade year. It would have made me stop believing I was the next Michael Jordan. I know it still would have discouraged me if I were cut in middle school, but the coaches are not as harsh and the sooner you realize the truth the better.

Middle school sports will improve the quality of high school sports, plain and simple. The intramural sports they have now, are nothing compared to disciplined practices, games and tryouts. It would make NW sports improve, along with the athletes already being acquainted with one another. Also, the most important reason of all is, the athletes that are not as talented will be saved from the critical judgement of high school coaches.

Brady Klein
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Including the middle men