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Students Share Reasons for Participation in High School Athletics

By NFHS on October 05, 2016 hst Print

This month, the NFHS is kicking off its National Communications Campaign entitled “#MyReasonWhy” with the goal being to drive participation and strengthen support for high school athletics and activities while showcasing the outstanding work of the 51 NFHS-member state associations. 

The focus of the campaign is students sharing “My Reason Why” for participating in interscholastic athletics and activities.

Following are comments from four students indicating the reasons they chose to participate in high school athletics/activities.


Brynn Campbell
Glastonbury High School
Glastonbury, Connecticut

My reason is the chatter that surges through the locker room before practice, the precious bits and pieces of conversation exchanged among us between sets, the pre-meet cheers that echo through the pool so loudly I think my eardrums are about to burst, the “good lucks,” the “one mores” and the “keep goings.”

I participate on my high school swim team because of my 35 best friends motivating me and pushing me to do my best every day. It’s a magical experience to turn and take a breath during a race and see my entire team on their feet cheering me on. It brings out energy I didn’t know I had left. Suddenly, I want to win more than I’ve ever wanted anything in my entire life, just to make every single one of them proud. That’s when the hours of hard work, struggle and perseverance pay off; when I’m able to contribute to something so much bigger than myself. 

Some may say swimming is an individual sport, but I know the truth. When I dive in, it’s not just me in the pool; my teammates are right beside me giving me confidence and drive, challenging me to test my limits. I participate on my high school swim team because they’re more than just my team, they’re my family and I don’t know where I’d be today without them.


Kylee Johnson
Bixby High School
Bixby, Oklahoma

My reason for participating in school activities is to meet new people and become closer to the students you already know. In a large school system, student-athletes have the ability to meet and become
friends with more students through extracurricular programs. In addition, school programs can increase school spirit and help students stay plugged in to their school and community.

Some students may ask, “why should I spend my time participating in high school activity programs?” Activity programs, whether after school or in school, can be very beneficial to any student. When a student applies for any college, he or she will be asked to fill out an application for admission.

If a student is able to document activities in which he or she has participated, there is a better chance of admission versus a student who has not participated in any interscholastic programs. Some colleges require students to have community service hours, and athletics and activity programs could help them achieve those hours.


Rebecca Burfitt
David Douglas High School
Portland, Oregon


8:15-9:15 a.m.: Quintet Rehearsal.

4:30-5 p.m.: Private Practicing.

6-7 p.m.: Flute Sectional.

7-9 p.m.: Evening Rehearsal.

This is a calendar entry from last April, during the peak of competition season. As a member of the David Douglas High School Wind Ensemble, my time is split between the classrooms and the band room. I enjoy playing music; however, I don’t intend to make a career out of it. When my schedule is overloaded with music events, I often ask myself, “Why am I doing this?”

To answer this question, I simply have to sit back in band class and look around at my peers and I know my reason why. When I get the nervous jitters before a performance, I’m reminded that I will never have to take the stage alone, and that being proud of a performance is so much sweeter when you can celebrate it with your friends. As an ensemble, we share everything from laughs, to tears, to old spit rag. The level of dedication hidden within these high school kids is truly inspiring. They’ve shaped my work ethic and taught me to be part of a team. While I may not take my flute with me into adulthood for my career, the memories I’ve made as a band student will stay with me forever.


Ethan Purgahn
Orchard Farm High School
St. Charles, Missouri

I’ve been playing sports since I started with soccer in kindergarten 14 years ago. This is the first time I’ve asked myself, “Why do I play sports?” Even if I was asked by someone I most likely would have answered with a short, “Because it’s fun,” or, “All my friends do it.” 

Upon further reflection of that question, I think the reason I play three different sports in high school is it was a great way to meet new people, and I enjoy being a part of the family that is built when you play a team sport. 

I arrived at Orchard Farm High School three years ago in 2013 as a freshman knowing nobody at the school. Football season was the first season and I knew only a handful of people on the team. I gave it a shot, but where I really made most of my friends was basketball. Even to this date we are all pretty close, and we have each other’s backs. During the next three years of basketball, we all worked hard and went through tough times together. We have built a family in that program. So, my reason for playing sports may be different than yours, but in whatever you do find your passion and work hard.