November 5, 2011

Raines Vs Ribault; The Duality of athletics and academics

Raines vs. Ribault

The Vikings of Raines High School take on the Trojans of Ribault High School.

The atmosphere is building to an electrified level at Raines and Ribault, the stands will be overflowing to capacity. Alumni will remember clashes of past football glory days. The smell of hotdogs, hamburgers, chili, popcorn and even crabs will permeate the air. There will be pep rallies, banners of encouragement, school fight songs sung, the band will be ready to perform at half time and all supporting persons are in their
respectable places.

Coaches will refine their speeches and players will put on their game faces well before the Saturday evening event. The media will be ready to digitally catch every play and display every statistic about player performance and coaches play calling. Even Sam Kouvaris will have a comment or two on the six and eleven new shows.

This is a possible scene from the upcoming Raines and Ribault football game this weekend Saturday, November 5th at Ribault High School starting at 2:00pm. On the other side of this coin the division of athletics and academics; the need is there, but where are the men and fathers?? Men are needed to be more involved in the school, with this knowledge of need it is not as hard as it sounds to be a mentor, volunteer, role model or even to help tutor a child in school; it takes a healthy passion and honest
concern for students to be successful in school and life. Responsible, concerned and mature men can help young men be successful and overcome challenges that distract them from academic success. Men that are past alumni of these great schools need to help the academic community now.

Men/fathers that are blue and white collar workers, business leaders, those serving in the clergy, and community organizers are needed
in schools across this county. Construction workers, nurses, law enforcement, doctors, lawyers, custodians, lawn care specialists, even those who are in Waste Management your skills to talk to youth are needed.

Mothers have traditionally been the intercessor for schools. However the challenges youth are experiencing in school and community are demanding men to make a commitment and be active to the duties as mentors, volunteers and even tutors. It is imperative for men to go into the schools and contribute to the education of school age young men. There are results when men show concern and participate consistently; social behavior improves, academic growth is evident in grades and testing, overall respect for teachers improves, and graduation rates go up.

This weekend the stadium will be filled, why can’t men attend parent/teacher conferences, school board meetings, Open House, and other school related activities that are off field and have academic importance? Men/fathers arejudged by their actions, they should be judged by their positive contributions to raising their children and improving their communities. They should not be judged by how many women they slept with, how many blunts they smoked. Men should not be judged by how many times they have been to prison, how many children they fathered, but cannot financially or emotionally support. This is a truth that cannot be denied or disputed. This is not a complete truth, there are successes in
parenting, but more men/fathers need to be involved in helping support education notjust athletics.

Validation of Data
Data validates men being involved in children’s lives; schools should be providing men an opportunity to participate in events geared just to them to help wth social behavior and guidance to academic achievement for children especially boys. Data has shown that a dad’s absence in the home through separation, divorce, incarceration and in some cases extended military service leads to dangerous trends for children’s behavior (NHES ’96/‘NCES ’97). When students get to middle and high school they
are confronted with the pressures of performance academic standards, state assessments, peer pressure, drugs and pressures to have sex, so the need for a strong male figure is needed to lend an ear to talk about teen pressures and provide positive advice. The statistics that children who grow up without a father/role model are five times more likely
to live in poverty, nine times more likely to drop out of school and twenty times more likely to end up in prison, Fatherhood Facts ( Children with involved fathers/men are significantly more likely to do well in school, have a healthy self esteem, exhibit
empathy and pro-social behavior, and avoid high risk behaviors such as drug use, truancy, and criminal activity.

Sports a Key Role
Sports can play a key role in helping youth to gain discipline, self control, and maturity, build self esteem and create high expectations for success. The issue is not everyone will play sports. Coaches fill a void as a father figure, mentor and guide, but students who don’t have this face challenges. Theodore Roosevelt said “to educate a man in mind
and not in morals is to educate a menace to society”; mentors and volunteers contribute to the overall holistic growth of the students.

Educational Levels
The educational level of mentors should not hinder their contribution. There are some things a book nor computer can teach, a computer cannot teach why a firm handshake, a computer cannot teach looking a person in the eyes when speaking to them, a book cannot effectively teach putting on a neck tie, nor how to carry one’s self in a job interview, a book cannot teach how and why to articulate words when speaking on a job and not using slang, a book cannot instill in young men why they should pull their pants up and wear a belt when going to school, church or work. I state these things to improve a young man’s appearance and self confidence, setting young men up for success and a continuation of freedoms from mental and emotional stereotypical minority slavery. As a teacher in public school and higher education for over 20 years, I see too many youth being taught how to fail by wrong actions and wrong role models.

Malcolm X stated, “you can teach a child to succeed or fail by your action or inaction.”

A Man/Father Legacy
In the Bible the understanding of leaving a positive legacy is known. The Bible says in Hosea 4:6, "My people are destroyed from lack of knowledge”. Teaching social behavior and etiquette is not in curriculums nor addressed in state standards or benchmarks. Character traits like: strong work ethic, honesty, humility, respect, the importance of responsibility, accountability, and even ethics and morals need to be taught and modeled. President Obama in his Third Annual Back To School speech spoke of ethics and morality. Why have our young men of color not provided the opportunity to listen to our President of the United States? He provides a “positive message” with personal accounts, educational success stories that
students can relate to and honest dialogue on his life. He tries to let youth know they have great potential and power to shape the world; education is the key to success and survival.

Stated by Bob Wise, President of the Alliance for Excellent Education, “The best economic stimulus package is a diploma”. We are becoming a high tech society, but how can our young men compete when they have low tech or no tech skills? How can they get into college when
colleges don’t want them? Men/fathers do make a difference so mentor/volunteer/tutor in schools and make a difference in a young person’s life. Leave a positive legacy behind. When a man or father reaches his final resting time he should want to see he contributed in a positive way when his life flashes before his eyes. Men/fathers should want to see something positive left behind, don’t let the only thing remain is an empty seat at a football stadium that people will fill with another butt. Support all the students and all our schools and be involved.

Raines Vs Ribault; The Duality of athletics and academics

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