The Effects of Allowing Young Children to Play Sports on Their Health, Social Habits, and Happiness

The ad, “If You Let Me Play,” by Nike emphasizes the idea of how allowing young children, especially girls, to play sports positively influences their health, social habits, and happiness. The ad features various young girls from different backgrounds each in a different setting like on a swing, on a baseball field, or on a playground, to include an aspect of each child being active in the ad; the diversity in age and background of the children features display how sports impact everyone. Additionally, they each say a line that highlights how playing sports does indeed positively affect not only the children individually, but the child population as a whole.

Statements such as “If you let me play sports, I will be 60% less likely to get breast cancer” and “If you let me play, I’ll have more self-confidence” are said. This adds an element of logos and ethos into the advertisement by providing statistics that strengthen the argument as to why sports are beneficial. Furthermore, aspects of pathos are utilized by the ad by the filming technique with the darker tinted lighting and the serious and sympathetic tone of the children. In the clips of the girls running and sitting on the turning wheel in the playground, the girls are shown smiling and laughing, conveying a happy element to exercising. The ad closes off with several children repeating the lines “If you let me play sports, I will learn what it means to be strong” and “If you let me play sports”; the repetition of these phrases underlines the intention of the ad and reinforces how all kids should be encouraged to participate in sports for the benefits.

Even though the ad was created over two decades ago, its relevance is still pertinent in today’s society as children, especially girls, are often stereotyped as weaker and not encouraged to participate in sports. According to Mercury News, many schools seem to be not reporting their data to prove that their female students are getting the same opportunities in sports as the boys. Without this data, it is difficult to tell whether the schools are following the 1972 federal Title IX law as well as the California Education Code, laws that ensure that all schools provide equal opportunities in sports to both girls and boys. While the number of females and children in sports did drastically increase over time, there is still a clear discrimination towards young girls in sports. 40 years ago, there were almost no college athletic scholarships for women, whereas now there are at least 3.2 million girls who are a part of high school sports.

As a girl who grew up playing sports, I have noticed that there are a fewer number of girls who practiced sports; at tennis clinics, I would often be one of the only girls among many guys playing tennis. It is clear that sports do have a positive impact as stated by the facts that each child recited in the advertisement. Sports not only nurture teamwork, sportsmanship, and health, but they also decrease chances of unwanted pregnancies and joining groups like gangs. Sports have been proven to strengthen the immune system and overall serve as a vital part of everyone’s lives in order to maintain one’s well-being. Despite the risk of injuries that come with sports, all children should be encouraged to play, since sports induce countless benefits that remain ingrained in the child forever; the benefits definitely outweigh the risks.

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