Guest Column: Public School Athletic Programs – They’re More Than “Just Sports”
By Hamtramck Public Schools’ Athletic Director Brian Anderson
For many students, school sports are much more than an after-school activity. Athletics provide a way for kids to interact with their peers, exert energy and be a part of a team working towards a common goal.
We know that sports programs are key to improving health and student performance. In fact, a 2020 study shows a 6% increase in academic scores in student-athletes and finds that 4.8% of student athletes have higher self-esteem from participating in athletics. Students involved in athletics show increased physical and mental health and elevated academic performance through better time management, and other skills learned on and off the field.
I consider myself fortunate to serve as the athletic director for Hamtramck Public Schools. My position at HPS began in 2018 with the goal of growing our sports offerings for all scholars, and the coaches matched my enthusiasm beyond my expectations.
Throughout the past three years, I have seen first-hand the great strides we have made. When the COVID-19 pandemic hit, we pivoted quickly to virtually recruit players and practice safely and separately. We grew our men’s basketball program from 25 athletes to just over 40. We also created a women’s basketball team that now has 11 players and growing. Wrestling was hit the hardest by the pandemic’s barriers, but Hamtramck’s wrestling coach still made sure each athlete was engaged in school and practicing individually. Throughout it all, we kept our student-athletes updated with the latest news, protocols and events.
The success of our programs today is one of the many reasons we are so grateful for our Hamtramck community. Our students and coaches love sports, use them to build connections with one another and tap into school pride. These programs excel because of our family atmosphere and the way we ensure that our students know they are cared for beyond the game.
As an athletic director, it is my privilege to witness firsthand what happens when dedicated student-athletes, coaches, teachers and staff all work together on and off the field. Athletic success seeps into our classrooms and homes. With encouragement, care and passion, I see our students thriving, and I am excited to see just how far they will go.
If you have questions or would like to sign your child up for an HPS sports team, please contact me at Banderson@hamtramckschools.org.