Recently I found an offering on the Missouri State High School Athletic Association website created by the National Federation of High Schools titled, "The Case for High School Activities".

The document reads exactly like you'd expect. For example, on page 12 it states:

"A 1990-91 study in North Carolina showed a correlation between athletics and positives like improved grades and increased attendance. Athletes in grades 9-12 recorded an 86 average, compared to 79 for the general population. Athletes averaged four absences, while the general population averaged seven. Eleven percent of the athletes had discipline referrals, compared to 25 percent of the general population. Zero athletes dropped out, while 3.7 percent of the general population were dropouts."

The NFHS spoke to the idea of future implications stemming from inactivity on page 15, as well, such as: "Students who spend no time in extracurricular activities are 49% more likely to use drugs and 37% more likely to become teen parents than those who spend one to four hours per week in extracurricular activities (United States Department of Education. No Child Left Behind: The facts about 21st Century Learning. Washington, DC: 2002.)"
Not only do the negative results from inactivity cross all gender boundaries, they also breach the borders of race and economic status, which is mentioned on page four when it's said that:

"Participation in extra-curricular activities provides all students – including students from disadvantaged backgrounds, minorities and those with otherwise less than distinguished academic achievements in high school – a measurable and meaningful gain in their college admissions test scores according to researchers Howard T. Everson and Roger E. Millsap, writing for the College Entrance Examination Board in 2005".

Here's the thing, if you agree with these principals and ideas then you must also realize these concepts still apply regardless of who you are or where you're at. The truth extends beyond our own yards. Athletics are a worth-while affair everywhere you go, be it Mexico, Auxvasse, Montgomery County, Paris, Wellsville, Centralia, Vandalia or Laddonia.

In completely unrelated news, recently while rifling through some athletics files from the late 1980's and early 90's that were most likely compiled by former Ledger Sports Editor Jim Stanley and the hair styles in the pictures were as disturbing as they were entertaining.

While I'm sure my parachute pants wouldn't be nearly as baggy and spacious and my spandex shorts would probably feel like an all-day bear hug from Stan Groenke, in that same folder I found a column that originally ran in the Ledger in 1951.

Having first been published on Oct. 11 of that year, the article does not have a writing credit, is titled, "An Editorial Opinion", and consists of seven different definitions of Homecoming, the fifth of which is: "HOMECOMING- is the football game between Mexico and the Jefferson City team. It is the spiraling kickoff, the knifing tackle, the bone-crushing block and the lightning run. It is the gaudy halftime with its coronation and its intricate formations. It is the excited spectator who jumps to his feet and pounds on the back of a stranger. It is the Mexico victory over St. Peter's."

The point is, enjoy the rest of your summer while you can because before you know it football season will be upon us and once that happens, as we all know, everything else takes a back seat.