Friday, October 17, 2014

A Letter to Student-Athletes

October 14, 2014

Dear High School Student-Athlete:

There are many reasons to participate on a high school sports team.  Movement is the only way to nourish your brain.  A coach can be another adult in your life who wants you to succeed.  Your teammates become friends for life, and what’s cooler than representing your community?

In the New York Times bestselling book SPARK: The Revolutionary New Science of Exercise and the Brain by Harvard Professor John J. Ratey, MD, it was reported that three months of exercise increased blood flow to the brain’s memory and learning areas by 30%.  There you have it.  The science behind why student-athletes outperform the general school population academically.  Athletes are also most likely to succeed in college and their chosen profession.  “Dumb jock?”  Don’t believe the myth!

When I was in high school (soon after Noah’s flood), I became bored during my sophomore year.  My grades were fine, but I wanted to quit school to experience more adventures in life.  The day I planned to drop-out, my PE teacher asked me to join his track team.  It was just the injection of adventure I needed.  To challenge myself to run faster, and to try to jump higher and farther every day was thrilling.  My coach spoke quiet words of wisdom as needed, and the thought of not finishing school never again crossed my mind.  Before graduating, I experienced the thrill of running on one of New York City’s best 3200 meter relay teams!

The teammates I met nearly 30 years ago are friends of mine to this day.  They are engineers, attorneys, police officers, civil servants, and great parents!  If I need expert advice, I know who to call.  When my spirits are down, they are there to lift me up.  I could not imagine growing old without them.  We were soldiers on the same high school battle grounds, so they know where I’m coming from.

For all of the above reasons, and many more, your participation on one of our high school teams will benefit you in ways yet to be revealed.  I support your continued growth, and will remain a resource for you as long as I walk this earth.  I’m confident your coaches will do the same.


Jonathan T. Jefferson, Ed.D.

Director of Health, PE, & Athletics