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.