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Letters: Cazenovia Athletics ... Beyond the obvious

To the editor:

As a resident and parent of students in the Cazenovia Central School District, now couldn't be a better time to support our athletic program. We have two state title teams. The girls' Cross Country team was third in NYS this past fall. Six teams have won sectional titles, three are regional champions and a record number of seniors will continue playing at the highest levels of college sports. But there's more to the story than what you read in the newspaper or see on television. 66 percent of our students, grades 7 through 12, participate in one or more athletic teams during the course of the academic year. That adds up to roughly 575 students on the court, on the ice, in the pool or at the Fenner Fields complex.

For fall and spring seasons, over 50 percent of students are actively involved in modified, junior varsity and varsity programs. During the winter, participation does decrease to roughly 30 percent, but the number of sports available also decreases.

With childhood obesity on the rise, and health officials concerned about the sedentary lives of children, this is positive news for our community. And although research is somewhat limited on the topic of whether athletic participation fosters leadership skills, high school athletes do learn: How to relate to people who have different backgrounds and motivations, how to deal with disappointment personally and within a team, how successful teams benefit from a group versus individual effort, valuable time management skills and how attitude can impact individual ability as well as group performance.

Our student athletes also do well in the classroom. Four years ago, 24 of 24 varsity teams at Cazenovia Central School qualified as a scholar athlete team as recognized by the NYS Public High School Athletic Association. For the 2010-2011 academic year, the Lakers are on course to match that record to qualify as a "school of distinction."

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