The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

The student news site of St. Louis Park High School

The Echo

Do the ends justify the Madness

Is March Madness good or bad for Park?
Sophomore+Jacob+Natzel+watches+the+first+round+of+March+Madness+in+class+March+21.+Watching+college+basketball+during+school+is+very+popular+this+time+of+year.
Ted McCarren
Sophomore Jacob Natzel watches the first round of March Madness in class March 21. Watching college basketball during school is very popular this time of year.

March Madness is one of the most entertaining sports tournaments in the world played by mere college kids. People will do anything to watch whether it’s during school or watching on their phone in the hallway. While this is the highlight of some sports fan’s year, the question arises; is this positive or negative for Park and its academics?

Every year, for the first week of March Madness, students become engulfed in the games and refuse to miss a second of the action, leading them to watch on their chromebooks no matter what the class is. In a study hall or an AP or IB class, students will tune out of class to focus on the games to see if their bracket will be accurate. The response by teachers is very different. Some teachers love the excitement and will even put it on for their class. Others will freak out when kids even check notifications on their phones or open their chromebooks. While every reaction is justified, the question is whether or not March Madness is good for Park.

While this is a complex question, March Madness is not bad for the students of Park. I love March Madness more than anyone, I make multiple brackets, compete with friends and family and I’m willing to do anything to watch the games. That said, it’s not good for Park. While the games are exciting and exhilarating it’s more than fair to ask students not to watch them in or during class. Especially as students get older they understand more where teachers are coming from and are willing to put it away, but with younger students it can be tough to control.

There are definitely positives to the excitement for the tournament as well. One of the biggest pros of March Madness is how it brings students and even teachers together. Mr. Polk plays the games for his students while they work which helps them enjoy the fun, while also being productive for the day. Mr. Austad always offers his bracket to students which he gives them to fill out and keeps track online. He gives it to every student and encourages them to predict the outcomes regardless of their basketball knowledge. This is a great way for kids to get closer while also building a better connection with their teacher.

The biggest negative is the loss of multiple learning days and students being completely checked out in their afternoon classes. Nearly all teachers feel forced to accommodate their class in some way or another to account for the tournament. Especially as classes move into the later part of the year, every day is crucial and missing multiple days can be costly for classes moving at a fast pace. Another problem occurs when kids continue to try to follow the games even when teachers are trying to push forward. This leads to a large loss of knowledge and a challenging learning environment for everyone.

Weighing all of these pros and cons there’s good arguments on both sides, but it seems the cons have more influential reasoning. While student bonding and enjoyment is important, learning should come first at school. Teachers should be allowed to ask students to stop watching the games and be able to take computers if students don’t listen. It is an unreasonable expectation of teachers to show the games in class or postpone their lessons because of basketball. While the tournament is exhilarating and a sports fan’s dream, school is for learning and college basketball shouldn’t be able to overtake that.

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About the Contributors
Ryan Steinberg, Echo Staffer
Hi, I’m Ryan. I’m a junior and this is my first year on echo. I’m excited to be a part of this group. In my free time I like to play ultimate and hanging out with my friends. I also  play soccer and ultimate for the school.  
Ted McCarren, Echo Staffer
Hi, I’m Ted and I am a sophomore this year. I play football and baseball and I am excited about my first year in Echo. Outside of school, I like to hangout with my friends, play golf and fish in the summer, and snowboard during the winter.

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