The Instigator
I-am-a-panda
Pro (for)
Losing
0 Points
The Contender
KRFournier
Con (against)
Winning
26 Points

Sports should be compulsory for every child over 5.

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Post Voting Period
The voting period for this debate has ended.
after 5 votes the winner is...
KRFournier
Voting Style: Open Point System: 7 Point
Started: 11/7/2008 Category: Health
Updated: 8 years ago Status: Post Voting Period
Viewed: 21,623 times Debate No: 5906
Debate Rounds (3)
Comments (0)
Votes (5)

 

I-am-a-panda

Pro

I would like to thank whoever challenges me in this debate.

Firstly, I will state my argument. It is that if every child aged 5 from here on in played a sport up until the age of 16, it would benefit society. My points are 1. It will tackle obesity levels, 2. It will help children socialise. & 3. It will benefit students in other ways, like academically.

Firstly, obesity levels are on of societies challenges. Heart disease and other heart related problems kill thousand of people a year. This is preventable by making all children do a sport from a young age. It will make them fit & healthy from a young age, making them less likely to become obese.

Secondly, It will help kids socialise. Kids who normally shack up days on end in their room on the computer or Xbox normally don't do sports. It's leaves their social options limited, and they turn to an online community for help with this. Infact it further distants them from real life friends in many ways, and thus if every child does sports, it will benefit them.

Last but no least, the cildren will benefit in many other ways. For example, it's been proven scientifically that students that exercise regularly get an academic boost and helps concentration levels. Aswell, all children have different talents. Sports will bring this out of them. Whilse the con side may argue all kids aren't suited to sports, sports brings out talents that can be used in music and art. There's a plethora of sports to choose from. Baseball can be used to strenghten arm muscles and can enable children to run in short burts, whereas Basketball instigates throwing and jumping skills, aswell as the ability to quickly switch from defense to offense.

Meanwhile, soccer improves stamina and kicking abilities. Also, American football, while it is for teenagers and onwards, encourages thinking tactically and determination , And I'm only talking about America! Mormally, a child that is good at one sport, usually excells at other sports and more than often, activites like Music and Art.

I encourage anyone to challenge me, and look forward to a good debate.
KRFournier

Con

My thanks go to I-am-a-panda for this interesting topic. I am accepting the Con position that sports should not be compulsory for every child over 5 years old.

My Argument
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(I will prefix my arguments with "Con" to make them distinct from my opponent's points.)

Con-1. The resolution violates individual freedom.

While exercise is found to be beneficial in many ways, compelling children to play them violates the personal freedoms of both child and parent. Unless it can be shown that not bettering oneself threatens the life, liberty, and pursuit of happiness of others, then we cannot in good conscience strip away such liberties simply because it would be nice if everyone were healthier.

Con-2. The resolution is impractical.

Enforcing the resolution would be costly to taxpayers. Public schools would need additional funding for their athletic/competition programs. More money would also be needed to regulate and enforce the new legislation. The tax burden of citizens will have to be increased to underwrite these additional costs, or other social programs will have to be cut.

Furthermore, the government would have to establish complex codes involving wavers and exceptions. It must decide what constitutes being too sick, too disabled, too dysfunctional, too talented in other areas, etc. Should a piano prodigy be compelled to risk injury to his valuable hands playing contact sports?

Con-3. The resolution is too vague.

As my opponent says, there are many kinds of sports. The government would have to define acceptable sports. On the one hand, the government could be very broad and allow all kinds of sports such as sumo-wrestling, chess, marbles, video game competitions, knitting, drama, TV trivia, math competitions, and so on. In this case, why bother legislating it at all? On the other hand, the government could be very selective and limit it to only football, soccer, basketball, or baseball. Surely in this case we could expect lawsuits from citizens complaining that their favored sport was excluded.

My Rebuttal
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1. It will tackle obesity levels.

There are many ways to tackle obesity. A healthy diet is one way, so why not make it compulsory to eat salads every day for lunch? Not smoking is an excellent way to prevent heart disease, so perhaps we should make smoking illegal. Even breast feeding infants can help reduce heart disease later in life (http://www.webmd.com...), so we should ban formula feeding while we're at it.

By applying my opponent's logic to other areas of health, I am showing the absurdity of it. There are many ways to be healthy and avoid obesity. So if we make one way compulsory, why not all ways?

2. It will help children socialize.

Sports do help children socialize. However, I'd like to see justification for the moral position that children ought to socialize. It may be healthy. It may be beneficial. But is it immoral not to socialize? If not, then why should the government legislate it?

3. It will benefit students in other ways, such as academically.

My rebuttal here is similar to my rebuttal of the proponent's first point. Studies show that parents have a large role in academic success (http://www.usatoday.com...), so should we compel parents to sit down and do school work with children or force them to join the P.T.A.? A family's economic standing also plays a significant role in a child's academic success, so perhaps the government should guarantee a minimum income to boot.

My opponent says sports provide other benefits, such as the development of a child's talents, stamina, dexterity, and so forth. Indeed, sports do all these things. But reading books improves language and critical thinking skills, so let's make reading mandatory. Debating on www.debate.org improves logical analysis and typing skills, so the government should force all young people to join the site right now.

My opponent, you see, does not consider the implications of this thinking. There are so many ways for an individual to improve, be it physically, mentally, spiritually, or what have you. It is not the government's role to decide which way is most ideal, nor is it the role of government to force people to be better. Unfortunately, we must leave self betterment in the hands to which it belongs, the person.

This brings me to my opponent's larger argument. My opponent says that the resolution will benefit society, but does so without qualification. What makes a society replete with thinner, more social, talented people better? Furthermore, what justifies such a pursuit? Is it a moral requisite to desire such a society, or are we simply discussing a society my opponent prefers?

My opponent has, without a doubt, good intentions. I completely agree that sports are a great way to improve one's lifestyle and chances of success. But I have shown how compelling children to play sports at the expense of our personal freedom comes at too great a cost. I have shown that such an idea is impractical for the government to sponsor. I have shown that "sports" is too vague a notion to properly legislate. Finally, I have shown how my opponent's arguments fail to take into account their logical implications.
Debate Round No. 1
I-am-a-panda

Pro

Firstly In would like to thank KRFournier for accepting this debate and laying down some valid points.

I will begin with rebuttal:

1. You say it's stripping someone of their liberties to force sports on them. This may be true, but then why is it not violating their freedoms to force them to go to school? It's because it's for the greater good of society. It's because it betters children and leaves in a better standing than before.

2. You say it is impractical. You claim it will cost the taxpayer more money to bring this in. But won't families/the state save on health care because over the long run, less heart disease and heart operation will be performed, saving cash in the thousands.But who says parents can't go splits on it? Sure, some families can't afford it, thats where the state comes in, but most parents are already paying for sport and many other activities for their children out of their own pocket. In our current economic climate I agree we cannot bring it in. But in 10 years when the economic boom comes then surely it is feasable.

You say the government must decide who can and can't play sports. But these things are already in place. There are medical tests readily available to check if a child is feasable for sport. Yes, a piano prodigy shoudn't have to play contact sport to risk an arm breakage, but did I say he had to?? I mention a plethora of sports, ones such as Soccer which require little effort from you're hands (bar the goalkeeper).

3. Why on earth would marbles or TV trivia be considered a sport?? I feel a local level would be satisfactory, because whereas Alaska would consider Ice hockey its state sport, other parts would consider it Basketball, other American football, etc. It should be what the local authorities feel neccessary, and what local centres and schools can offer kids.

Rebuttal on your rebuttal:

1. You say that why not make it compulsory for a student to eat salad at luchtime, or ban formula milk? It's because a majority of people don't have salad for lunch and alot of mothers us infant formula as an alternative. Whereas alot of children participate and play sports. It is not absurd to make sports compulsory for children when alot of children do sports already. However, forcing salads to be eaten or banning baby formula is extremely absurd.

2. I'm not saying it's immoral to not socilalise. People like hermits have lived their lives without contact, but by teenage years, 95%+ students want to socialise and do things with friends and so on, so this is only a huge benefit to kids.

3. Yes, parents have a pivotal role in a students test results, more so than sports in some cases. But, this depends heavily on economic background like my opponent mentioned. If they come from a low-income family, chances are the parents don't get involved as much. In a middle-class family, parents are probably most involved and get their kids the best result possible. In rich families students get tutors and are given professional help. Parents shoudn't be forced to join the PTA or forced to sit down with their kids. Parenting is up to parents, the government shoudn't have control their, but this is on a bigger scale. It concerns future health risks, the security and safety of a nation from disease. Sport has an effect, it increases concentration and can relaxe the mind from just 'school, school,school'. Check out this article for further proof: http://www.sports-media.org...

My opponent claims that all children should be forced to join this website, and forced to read. But most students read books, or at least text books, throughout school. Debating is a skill learned over time. It can't be started from the age of 5. You start basic grammar and rules at the age of 5. Whereas a child of 5 is more than happy to pick up a ball and kick it around, with almost no effort or skills being show nto the child.

To give the last part of my rebuttal, I see the implications of implementing this into society. Yes, some wil side with me and say it's for the greater good and has our childrens good at heart. Others will side with my opponent KRFournier and say it is a violation of one's freedom. The implications my opponent states is that the child will lose freedom, as well as the parent, over his/her life. But a child has little freedom in it's life when you think about it. They do about 6-7 hours of school a day, get 2 days off and have homework aswell. Some willl say that it's putting more stress on students by forcing them to in some cases lose a day to doing sport and losing other time to training for sports.

but lets step outside the bubble for a minute and look at not facts done by some scientist up in a lab away from civilization, but from the best view you have, your eyes. Going through school, who usually were the most overweight? The children who didn't participate in sport, or neglected it. Those are the people who go on to have bi-pass surgery or a heart attack. Alot of times, it costs the state, which is the taxpayers, thousands of dollars. By making it compulsory for chidren to participate in sports, we are saving in cases huindreds of millions of dollars. It woudn't even take 100 million to upgrade the facilities which are already in place, and would be able to cater for more kids.

Now, onto another point.
I feel sports is essential in some ways to human development. It gives energy they need, and leaves them able to , as i mentioned earlier, to perform better in school. My opponent will argue that Music, art and debating may be just as essential as sport, and I'm not saying they aren't. But if a kid doesn't do sport, they can sometimes develop slower than someone doing sports, because theyre challenging theyre body and constantly making themselves better.

I look forward to your next argument.
KRFournier

Con

I thank my opponent for his quick and thorough response.

Defense of my arguments
----------------------------------

Con-1: The resolution violates individual freedom.

My opponent rebuts my argument by pointing out that children have already lost their freedoms by compulsory school attendance. Not only is this absolutely true, but I think it's just as much an atrocity as the notion of compulsory sports. For you see, mandatory school is not for the benefit of society, but for the benefit of industry. John Gatto, 1990 New York City Teacher of the Year and 1991 New York State Teacher of the Year--indicted the public school system for teaching kids how to conform to a capitalist, industrialist society rather than for the betterment of their lives or the betterment of society. (Much of his book Dumbing us Down can be seen here: http://books.google.com...).

If anything, my opponent's rebuttal only serves to strengthen my argument. His logic is this: since we already take away freedoms for the good of the child, let's take more. My child's freedom to run outside to play or sit inside to watch a movie belongs entirely to her and her parents, not to Uncle Sam. Freedom of choice is of greater value than overall reduced child obesity in society.

Con-2: The resolution is impractical.

Indeed, families with healthy children have less medical expenditures than families with obese children or children with childhood diabetes. Until Obama institutes his national health care plan, families are taking the lion's share of the burden insofar as unhealthy kids are concerned. This brings us back to the same old argument: should the government step in to "save" parents from themselves, or is responsibility already properly placed in the hands of adults?

Con-3: The resolution is too vague.

My opponent asks why TV trivia or marbles could be sport, which is precisely my point. My opponent does not specify what constitutes a sport versus a hobby or pastime. My point was that such a classification would have to be decided upon by our legislatures. If they get too broad, then legislation is pointless. If it's too narrow, then the legislation is vulnerable to litigious response.

Defense of my rebuttals
--------------------------------

1. It will tackle obesity levels.

My opponent says it's less absurd to force kids to play sports than to force them to eat salads, but he does not give any justification to this response. He simply says this is so, and I guess we take it on good faith. I submit that the reasoning behind compulsory salad eating is the very same reasoning behind compulsory sports. The underlying presupposition of my opponent's arguments is that the government should take charge of people's well being, and my arguments aim to show that his presuppositions are not justified.

2. It will help children socialize.

My opponent misunderstood my rebuttal, so I will attempt to clarify it. My opponent tells us that one such benefit of sports is that it helps children socialize. That's all he says. He doesn't say why this is important, good, or beneficial. He just says that it is. In other words, he wants us to accept the assumption that children socializing with other children is good. My rebuttal is tantamount to saying, "So what?" I'm asking my opponent to substantiate this argument by showing why socializing children is so important.

Furthermore, if he can show this, then he must also answer whether or not sports are essential towards this end. There are many ways to socialize children, and it should be incumbent upon the parents--not the government--to socialize their children… assuming of course that socializing children is indeed as vital as my opponent would like us to believe.

3. It will benefit students in other ways, such as academically.

My opponent's rebuttal relies on the benefits of sports for a child's well being, and he offers a good source to back his claim. I have no issue with his assessment of the value of sports in a child's life. What I am concerned with is my opponent's belief that because sports have so many positive attributes, that we must force all children to do them. If it is indeed true that parents play a large role in academic success, then my opponent must explain why sports are mandatory and not parental involvement in study hours, tutoring programs, or the P.T.A.

Also, I did not claim that all children should be forced to join this website. Again, my opponent either misuses or misunderstands my argument. I was extending his rational to the extreme. To reword my argument, since sports are beneficial for the body, then why not include mandatory membership of a debate club, chess team, gymnasium, nutrition program, or counselor? In other words, I'm asking my opponent to answer why sports are to be mandatory but not other beneficial regiments.

At the core of this entire debate is this: who is responsible for the well being of society's members? My opponent believes the government is responsible and should become a messiah state, saving people from their self destructive ways. I believe the government should protect its citizens from external threats, not internal ones.

My opponent's view, while honorable in its end does not justify its means. Compulsory sports impede too much on personal liberty. Therefore, sports should not be compulsory for every child over 5.
Debate Round No. 2
I-am-a-panda

Pro

Well, were at the end of the debate. I would like to thank KRFournier for debating this with me.

1.The resolution violates individual freedom.
My opponent claims it is a violation of personal freedom, but do most parents know what's best for their children?? Alot of parent's spoil their children, because they love them. But this can lead to obesity levels that they can become unaware of. It's the governments job to make sure that parent's give their child a seat belt and a child seat if needed. Why? Because a parent could forget to put a child's seat belt on or because they're crying that they have it on, and all parents want a quiet car ride. When a car crash would happen, the child would have the highest chance of dying. because of a parent's ignorance.

Thankfully, most parent's are smart enough to put a seat belt on a child. I'm not questioning you're parenting skills, my parent's or any parents who may read this, but the knowledge of the parent. If the parent spoils the child uneededly, the child can develop diabetes or become obese for life. In alot of cases the parent stands idly by until they're older years. So, if the government intervenes for the good of the child in seat belt safety to protect their lives, why don't they government intervene health wise to protect it's future voters and citizens?

2. The resolution is impractical.

You go to a but too far in you're wording of this argument 'should the government step in to "save" parents from themselves'. it's not saving parents from themselves. Forcing the parent to work 9-5 Monday - Saturday. Whilst their child sits in a government run school/cr�che is the idea you put forward of 'saving' parents from themselves. It's not saving parent's if they're kids go to sports 3 days a week at most. Let's also remember that this in some cases can give parents a well deserved break from their child 3 days a week in some cases.

3. The resolution is too vague.
My opponent's point is what do we call a sport and what we don't call a sport. Obvious contenders are American football, baseball, basketball, soccer, hockey, etc. It should depend on what the local area can provide a child. We shouldn't need legislation saying that x is a sport and y isn't. Online dicitionary.com says that sports is 'an athletic activity requiring skill or physical prowess and often of a competitive nature'. If a community centre can offer a child a choice of Basketball, Dancing or ice hockey, those are his and his parents options. This eliminates you're example of TV trivia which isn't an 'athletic activity' nor is marbles, whilst 'it is of a competitive nature' and 'requires skill', it isn't athletic. Local jurisdiction should apply. to your area, to my opponent's area and to my area.

Defense of my arguments:
1. It will tackle obesity levels.

My opponent submits that if the reasoning of sports is applied, so should eating salad. But, my opponent obviously skipped my justification. Alot of children play sports. Introducing this will make little change to the normal life of a child. But I would say only a minority of children choose to eat salad at lunch or choose to it it outside of meals. You can't regulate what a person eat. Sports can tackle an obesity rate effectively. But will salad. Salad can be more harmful than good in some cases. Pre-made salad can often be filled with salt and sugar. As well, kids are going to want meat with salad, and the dressing . And the dressing would defeat the purpose of eating the salad in the first place. I'll give you an example of thousand island salad dressing http://caloriecount.about.com.... On the website it gives you nutrional information on the dressing. As you can see it's high in sugar and calories, which would add to the problem, not fix it. But sports does nothing but good to one health, apart from breaking or spraining body parts, which doesn't happen in every game, or even every year.

2. It will help children socialise.

There are benefits to children socialising. firstly, I have yet another health benefit. Children who socialise are normally healthier as they catch illness' like Flu and colds, which make their immune system more resilient - http://en.wikinews.org.... As well, chicken pox is best caught at an early age as it is more severe amongst adults and deadly amongst pregnant women - http://en.wikipedia.org...

It can also leave children in a better state of mind. Think about it. Young children, who don't have much interaction with a friend, usually just parents, siblings and the occasional cousins. because of this they develop imaginary friends. This is harmless and common amongst young children. But it can have severe affects amongst teenagers and adults, which can lead them to do bad things and think they're bad people. As my opponent requested, that is my justification.

3. It will benefit students in other ways, such as academically.

My opponent asks, 'why sports are mandatory and not parental involvement in study hours, tutoring programs, or the P.T.A.' It's for a simple reason. When students go to school, they have teachers who teach them. When they're assigned homework, they have been given it assuming that they can be left to their own devices and find the answers with the help of a textbook. I'm not denying that a parental role makes a huge difference. Yes, in languages a textbook won't teach you everything, it is sometimes critical for a parent to help.

But parents have to work a 9-5 job and some don't get home 'till as late as 6.00. And students can't be denied a social life,and you can only agree with me on that. So if a teen finishes their homework at 5.30 before the parent comes home, the parent can't help their child. Whereas sports are usually run locally so the child can get their independently in most cases. My justification is that not all parents can help a student academically on their schedule, but can support them in a sport.

My opponent also raise the question 'why sports are to be mandatory but not other beneficial regiments'. Well why not? Debating vastly improves one's English and Chess stimulates one's brain. But these are learnt skills. Sports can be started from a young age because its easily learnt. Whereas debating and chess take time to learn and perfect. Yes, it's not easy to get good at a sport. Some are more naturally gifted than other, but it can be started from a young age giving everyone a fair shot. Whereas debating and chess can depend on your background and education.

My opponent advocates that the government should protect it's citizens from external threats only, not internal ones. But where's the limit. If you're forced to wear a seat belt, are you being protected from internal or external threats? The answer is both. It protects you from you're/ someone else's careless driving. Implementing compulsory sport not only saves yourself from disease and gives you a somewhat better lifestyle, it also protects others from you by making sure they don't have to keep paying you're hospital bills every time your heart fails on you because you 'can't' quit McDonald's.

To conclude, I'll say this. The idea is for the greater good of society. I have shown you that it has more benefits than just tackling obesity. It can reduce disease amongst children, bring out the best in their studies and it is justifiable by these points, and that it can reduce health care costs. The only argument against this is that it violates personal freedoms and liberties, but so many children already do sports, and like wearing seat belts, it is for a greater cause over time and at the loss of a few hours a week to a child, will give them a better life, physically, mentally and academically.
KRFournier

Con

Once again, I thank I-am-a-panda for positing this interesting resolution and for responding so quickly and thoughtfully. I look forward to debating him again in the future.

My opponent has been arguing that children 5 and older should be compelled to enter into sports. His argument is based on the presupposition that the government ought to legislate good health if doing so can possibly create a better society. I called this a messiah state, a government headship that takes on the responsibility of saving its citizens from themselves. In other words, my opponent wants government to take responsibility of our actions--the actions of our parents and our children. My argument has been that the benefits personal liberty outweighs the benefits of fewer obese children.

Furthermore, my opponent fails to fully appreciate the doors his resolution opens. I've asked my opponent repeatedly to explain why sports should be mandated and not other self-improvement regiments. His answer to this is that most kids already engage in sports, so forcing the rest is not too much to ask. Who, other than I-am-a-panda, decides when it's too much to ask? Who decides what constitutes a proper "sport?" Who pays for it? What happens when the citizens resist such legislation? My opponent has not answered any of these questions satisfactorily. He wants us to simply accept, on good faith, that these answers are simply and easily handled.

I think it's important to note that even my opponent cannot be consistent with his logic. My opponent starts his final round saying, "So, if the government intervenes for the good of the child in seat belt safety to protect their lives, why don't they [sic] government intervene health wise to protect it's [sic] future voters and citizens?" But he contradicts this very ideal later in the same round when he says, "You can't regulate what a person eat [sic]." My opponent's position is totally arbitrary. He wants the government to regulate one area of healthy living, but not another. He cannot have it both ways.

My opponent's arguments also rely on the logic that since we take away one freedom, we should take another, so long as it improves the individual. We make people wear seatbelts, so why not make them play baseball? I pointed out the flaw in this thinking when he argued that kids already have to go to school, so let's force them to play sports. I asked my opponent to tell us where this line of thinking ends. After we mandate sports, what's next? This kind of ideology is dangerous and short sighted. People don't always make the right choices, but taking away those choices is the greatest crime of all. Read the Declaration of Independence for a reminder.

Advocating that the government force children to participate in sports at any age takes away too many freedoms. It violates the child's freedom of self expression by forcing them to participate in activities they may not enjoy or excel within. It violates the parent's freedom to raise them as they see fit. It is certain that parents and children fail to create healthy habits, but the alternative is a society of healthy mindless drones, whose actions and responsibilities belong to the state. I contend that this is not all a "better" society.
Debate Round No. 3
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Vote Placed by KRFournier 8 years ago
KRFournier
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