Part 1: Purpose, Problem Statement, and Research Questions
“Ray. People will come, Ray. They'll come to Iowa for reasons they can't even fathom. They'll turn up your driveway not knowing for sure why they're doing it. They'll arrive at your door as innocent as children, longing for the past. "Of course, we won't mind if you look around", you'll say, "It's only $20 per person". They'll pass over the money without even thinking about it: for it is money they have and peace they lack. And they'll walk out to the bleachers; sit in shirtsleeves on a perfect afternoon. They'll find they have reserved seats somewhere along one of the baselines, where they sat when they were children and cheered their heroes. And they'll watch the game and it'll be as if they dipped themselves in magic waters. The memories will be so thick they'll have to brush them away from their faces. People will come Ray. The one constant through all the years, Ray, has been baseball. America has rolled by like an army of steamrollers. It has been erased like a blackboard, rebuilt and erased again. But baseball has marked the time. This field, this game: it's a part of our past, Ray. It reminds us of all that once was good and that could be again. Oh...people will come Ray. People will most definitely come.” ― James Earl Jones from Field of Dreams.
Being a baseball coach in high school for the last 15 years, I have noticed a steady decline in students’ ability and desire to play baseball. When I was growing up, my friends and I would spend hours playing sports for little leagues and for our schools, and there were lots of kids playing and competing. When I first started coaching baseball, it was not uncommon for 100 students to come and try out for baseball, and all students had a good understanding of the game of baseball. Baseball is America’s pastime, but at my school, the sport has been in decline with students not wanting to represent their school. Many coaches in my area are having mixed reviews with who is coming out for baseball and who is not, with some schools having 100’s of students coming out and others having only enough students to field one team, regardless of the size of the school. I want to know what is causing the students in my school to not come out and play baseball and why the numbers continue to dwindle while others are increasing.
Two questions come to mind when I think of this problem, the first is “What is causing the declining number of students playing baseball at my school?” The second question I have is “What can be done to help promote and get more students to be active in school sports teams?” After school activities “go a long way” in developing students’ social skills and teaches them lessons about themselves that are not discovered in a classroom. “Studies also show that athletic participation, when combined with school services and leadership activities, can increase academic achievement.” (Chambers, 1991) With the added...