Football vs. Algebra
Today is the Homecoming game at Fairfax High. The Rebels will face the Westfield High Bulldogs (by all accounts a formidable opponent). And all week the students have been getting psyched about the game.
Yesterday, students were supposed to wear animal print clothes in honor of Safari Thursday, all part of spirit week leading up to Homecoming, with its “Welcome to the Jungle” theme. That means several teens showed up to algebra class in leopard spot boots or zebra striped backpacks. Later that morning, the Homecoming Court was announced.
Football plays a special role in American high schools, albeit a foreign one to me, since I graduated from an all-girls high school. But it’s interesting to see how the varsity players stand out -- wearing suits on game days, and how they are honored during announcements and by teachers who wear football jerseys with their names on them.
A 2002 Brown Center report looked at high school culture -- and the special place that football and other sports hold -- with a survey of foreign exchange students and local teens. The report found that a strong majority of American and foreign students viewed success at sports as much more important to U.S. teenagers than to teens in other countries. By a smaller margin, both groups also said that math is valued less by U.S. teens than those elsewhere.
The study also looked into whether schools known for athletic prowess were likewise lousy at math...but found no real trend there. Fortunately, math and reading scores did not suffer from state championships.
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