When you think of professional athletes, such as football and basketball players, what usually comes to mind? Maybe its their outstanding abilities. Maybe its their extremely large salaries. Maybe they are your role models and idols. One thing is for sure, it is definitely not their intelligence. Throughout the years, low intelligence has been associated with athletes. This stereotype is outdated, and I will show you why. Most people think of football players as dumb jocks. These people believe that football players think, feel, eat, and live football.

When they arent at practice or games hey are in the weight room bulking up. Never is a football player pictured studying. Who has time for school when there are sports? Football requires much more brains than most would like to admit. When a quarterback drops into the pocket, he must know where the wide receivers are running so he can throw the ball. The line men must know who to block so no one hits the quarterback. The wide receivers must know the routes which they must run, so they can catch the pass from the quarterback. These are not skills that everybody has.

Football players must learn these, otherwise the team does not succeed. For many athletes, athletics is a way to help them get through school. Sports give them the discipline they need to succeed in school. All athletes are required to maintain a certain grade point average to be allowed to play. If their grades slip below this mark, the are ineligible. Coachs are continually pushing players, not only for excellence on the playing surface, but also for academic excellence. My hockey coach would not even allow his own son play after getting sub-par grades. Parents like this are not uncommon.

My parents have told me if I dont do well in school, then I wouldnt be allowed to play ports. Those rules motivated me to keep my grades up. Without athletics, many student athletes may resort to life on the street, or drugs, instead of playing sports so they can go to school. Playing professional athletics is the goal of any athlete. But not many people think about playing sports on the college level. This is a goal of most athletes. Athletes need to succeed in high school to get accepted into a college or university. To be accepted to a school one must have good grades, not just an athletic gift.

People hear too much of the student-athletes that are put on academic robation for their bad grades. Little is said about the students that are getting good grades. If all athletes received bad grades, everyone would be ineligible, and there would be no participants in sports. How much fun would watching sports be if it were played by five foot seven inch Engineering majors? In the thirteen years I played sports, almost all of my teammates were on the honor roll. How could that be if athletes are always thinking about sports? Quite frankly, it isnt true. Most athletes are intelligent.

It takes brains to be able to hit a aseball, ice skate, know where to tackle an opponent, make a three-pointer, or kick a ball into a goal. There is much more to sports than God-given athletic ability. I have been an athlete for the majority of my life. I have played hockey, baseball, tennis, and golf. Hockey was a year-round sport for me. I played continuously through winter and summer. Playing hockey all of the time did not keep me from getting good grades. Although five nights out of the week were consumed by sports, I still managed to be an outstanding student. Ive received such honors as being an Illinois State Scholar,

National Merit Scholar, and I managed to be accepted into the University of Illinois. Could someone with low intelligence be able to maintain a rigorous schedule of sports and school? Most dedicated athletes that I know are exactly the same as me. They study hard and they play hard. Without doing well in school, people like me would not even be allowed to play sports. We have set academic goals for ourselves which our parents help us set by not allowing our grades to slip, or we will not be allowed to compete in sports. Marco Van Velsen is a student at the Temple University. He is also on the asketball team.

Marco wakes up early every morning for 5:30 a. m. daily practices. Throughout the year, Marco travels extensively with the team. However, Marco does not see himself as a basketball player, but a student. He is a bio-chemistry major, and plans to attend medical school in the fall. You will not find classes like movie appreciation, basket weaving, hop scotch, or even the ever popular underwater wheel chair hockey on his schedule. Instead, you will find courses such as bio-chemistry, physical chemistry, genetics, and endocrinology are the classes you will see Marco in. Marcos story is not ncommon.

There are countless numbers of student-athletes who are just like Marco. No matter how many examples of intelligent athletes there are, the stereotype will still be around because there are always a few people that fit this stereotype perfectly. There will always be a football player who thinks about the gridiron twenty-four hours a day. When they arent practicing or lifting weights they are talking about football to anyone and everyone. They go home and watch football. Never do they consider life outside of football. They hang out with their football friends, and anyone who doesnt lay football is not cool.

There will always be the stereotypical low intelligent black man playing basketball because he needs to support his family. This also fits another stereotype that all basketball players are black and all blacks are poor. As long as these types of people are around, stereotypes for dumb jocks will still exist. I believe everyone can agree that stereotypes are wrong. They will continue to be used until people realize the truth behind these stereotypes. I have shown you why low intelligence should not be associated with athletes. It is up to you to break the trend of stereotyping people.

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