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The Sports vs. School Disconnect

Basketball On A Warm Spring Evening

I was sitting in the stands this past weekend at the final game of my son's weekend AAU basketball tournament out in who-knows-where-Georgia. They were trounced by the best team in the state so I wasn't too upset. But they also lost their fight about 3 minutes into the 2nd quarter which was quite disheartening for all us parents who dragged ourselves out there at the crack of dawn to root for the team.

Once the next game began a fellow parent struck up a conversation with me and soon we were doing what I've often accused most older black men of doing when they get together at Thanksgiving and Christmas dinners: we were trying to out-top each other with descriptions of a point we both agreed on.

The topic: The disconnect that kids have been sports and academics. It was a wonderfully illustrative discussion filled with laughter and analogies that would make any storyteller swell with jealousy. After going back and forth a few rounds, my new friend struck this final death blow:

"I got one even better for you, sir," he said. The classroom is where the kids learn the basics - the fundamentals of math, English, science, etc. --- the game [of learning]. The teachers are the coaches. Then it's up to the kids to go home and practice what they learned to adapt it to their style of learning and understand how to make it work for them. That's the practice that goes on after the scheduled practices. And when they go back to school, the tests," he said, pausing to make sure I was listening to him and for effect, "the tests are the games! But these kids don't get that. And I'm old so I don't know nothin' anyway."

He shrugged his shoulders the way Jordan did that time after one of the greatest slam dunks of his career. He had me.

I had no choice but to nod in agreement.

Photo Credit: StuSeeger

E.Payne is the author of Investing In An Emotional Letdown and I Didn't Invented Sex. For the past 3 years he has posted 600+ articles about fatherhood, marriage and everything in between here at Makes Me Wanna Holler.com. To learn more, click here.

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