10 Reasons Sports Are America’s No. 1 Priority

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Sports are America’s favorite pastime, but have we taken our obsession with football, baseball, basketball, and other recreational games too far? These days, it seems as if America’s No. 1 priority isn’t peace, equality, justice, or caring for our fellow Americans — it’s sports.

America worships sportsmen and sportswomen to such an extreme that many are willing to turn a blind eye to criminal allegations levied against professional athletes, that school coaches are paid more than teachers and professors, that millions are eager to put their lives on hold just to make sure the big game is seen — and the post-game review, too.

Here are 10 reasons why sports have become America’s No. 1 priority.

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1. Sports are a priority in high schools

Investigative journalist Amanda Ripley first delved into the problem of America’s obsession with sports in “The Smartest Kids in the World,” a book that examines the issues of over-prioritizing sports in high schools by comparing the differences between Poland’s educational system and America’s.

Polish high schoolers are outscoring American high school students in both math and science since Poland eradicated sports teams from their high schools entirely. America’s high schools, on the other hand, are often entirely based around sports. An entire week dedicated to homecoming, pep rallies, leadership groups to plan these festivities, and long travel times to games all support the case that America is prioritizing sports much more than is appropriate.

Sports are such a priority in our high schools that oftentimes, entire summers are dedicated to cultivating high school sports teams, with days filled with long practice and drill sessions. Ripley points out that if a math teacher were to request a Saturday or summertime drill session, kids and parents alike would probably be outraged.

Among 74 countries, America’s high school students rank 31st in math and 17th in reading, and Ripley blames that on sports seeming to be the No. 1 priority in American schools.

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