Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Pay to play

Our local paper weekly places the best of the best in high school athletes in the sports pages. It is nice to see such recognition and I'm sure it gives the multitude of schools a little bit of bragging rights. It's also a nice clip to save for the future.

In the last few years, as we all know, high school sports has become more and more a pay to play. It can cost anywhere from a few dollars up to several hundred dollars for a teen to play the sport they love. Most think that is unfair but that is the reality of today. Some don't understand and think everything should be free. The world doesn't work that way.

Take these sports for instance. When I was an aspiring pitcher back in the day, the only varsity sports we had were the majors, football, basketball and baseball. And those were for boys only. There were the occasional volleyball sports for girls but those were still rare. In my senior year, the girls of my class won the very first girls state basketball championships. Yep, the first.

One of the reasons it costs to play is the wide variety of sports. There is now hockey, lacrosse, the three majors, volleyball, tennis, golf, swimming and still many others. That costs money folks, to pay coaches, travel from meets or matches, the various facilities to maintain or pay to use. Large swimming pools aren't cheap nor is renting them for practice or meets. Come to think of it, soccer virtually didn't exist in my high school career and it is now likely the number one participatory sport for youth today.

Budgets for schools are stretched far enough without having to pay for all these extra sports. When a school levy fails, parents are outraged when the school boards always threaten to cut sports. As much as I believe they are a necessary activity for schools, I never hear anyone complain about cutting back on math class. For too long we have put too much focus on these sports for our teens. How much more would we help them in life if we put that much focus on their homework?

I'd hate to lose them due to budget cuts, but high school sports are actually a luxury and with schools in deficit spending modes should be treated as such.

1 comment:

  1. Ah, to live in the land of fruits and nuts, where the schools can no longer require a participation fee for sports, band or cheerleading! By state law! They used to have organized methods to fundraise your costs, however, they can no longer mandate that students participate. So, our schools pick up all those costs and they wonder why we are at the bottom of the list when it comes to academics? Parents can afford the latest hi-tech gadgets and phones, but not to pay for sports, even if it's via fundraising? All because some group of parents sued and won - we were discriminating against their little darlings. Discriminate - my butt! If you can afford the cool stuff, you can sure afford to have your child work (gasp!) to raise the cost of uniforms, etc.
    Oh, and they can't sell snacks anymore as a fundraiser, as they aren't considered healthy and are bad for our overweight students. And not good for anyone. So, there went the easy fundraiser - Costco bag of bagged snacks, all the team memebers got a gallon ziplock and they sold all day without trying. Now - can't sell and hour before or after school lets out. Really?
    What I see is the problem with our schools is the stupid rules trying to tell us how to run our lives through legislation. They're not healthier and the schools are poorer. Yup, it's a win for stupidity, every time!