America's sports addiction

from the November 20, 2007 edition – America’s addiction to sports
It’s profoundly unhealthy to our schools, our bodies, and ourselves.
By Jonathan Zimmerman
New York

Last week, when a federal grand jury indicted baseball star Barry
Bonds for perjury, it confirmed an ugly truth: America’s got a big
drug problem.

I’m not talking about steroids, Mr. Bonds’ alleged
performance-enhancer of choice. Instead, I’m talking about athletics
themselves. Americans are addicted to competitive sports in ways that
are profoundly unhealthy to our schools, our bodies, and ourselves.
And until we confront that problem, head-on, steroids will continue
to plague us.

Consider this simple fact: Although every shred of evidence shows
that adolescents do not learn well before 9 a.m., US high schools
start the day at around 7:30 a.m. Why? To make room for afternoon
sports practice, of course.

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