High school sports’ programs teach essential skills

By Christine Schabeck, girls softball coach, businesswoman May 20, 2009 06:00 am
I want to personally thank you, Pat Sherman, for publically stating the obvious: “Keeping Sports At All Costs,” as titled in your letter to the editor (Pilot, May 13). 

You are absolutely correct in saying that and as a girls softball coach, community business person, parent and taxpaying citizen in this community, myself, all athletes and coaches and associated parents of the well-rounded athletes thank you!

As most informed citizens in this country firmly believe that it is the school sports programs that teach things like respect, discipline, commitment, goal setting and focus which translate into better citizens, we all support the programs too. In speaking to the leaders of all local police agencies, watching the daily national news and reading newspapers, it is an overstatement of the obvious to anyone other than a true “pundit” that school sports programs keep an astronomical number of kids off the streets, away from drugs and alcohol and out of trouble.

Also, if we in our school district started eliminating sports programs, there would be a huge financial impact to the district whereby people with kids would not move here, which would translate to $6,000 per year for each enrollee not coming to the district. In addition to that, the financial impact to our local businesses and the local real estate values would be significant.

Recently, there was a tiny “protest” to the possible elimination of a poorly performing metals class in the high-school whereby someone was quoted as saying that “sports programs are not generating much money currently.” I have done some research to that and that comment is so far from the truth it is amazing that anyone would say that. The facts are that in the last four years the local sports programs have been donated the state of the art Jayne P. Gibney Sports Center totaling $1.7 million dollars, well over $300,000 in cash for equipment, uniforms, travel, etc., from the John G. Atkins Foundation, thousands have been raised and provided by the local community from the Boosters Club, and thousands from private community

members. This is solely because the people in this community believe that sports programs are vital to the rounded education of the students in our community.

I am not quite sure what Pat Sherman meant by saying that “someone may go hungry”, but I doubt that it has anything to do with sports programs. The District should be run like a business. When cuts are required, they should be made to the poorest performers and poorest performing programs across the three local schools. You don’t cut the best programs and/or performers in any business and it should not be done here.

In speaking to numerous teachers and young adults in the high school, in addition to hearing about the numerous amount of teachers standing up in support of the current atmosphere at the high school at a recent budget meeting, it is obvious that the overall satisfaction level amongst teachers and administrators is at an all-time high. Why would anyone in their right mind disrupt such success? The accomplishments of Bryan Wood and Jon Young are unprecedented in our high school and should be fully supported by our community and the District, and in no way undermined. The basketball team went to State last year and won it all this year. The golf team is currently going to state. Anyone who thinks this does not have more of a long-term impact on a lot of young adults than building a gate, is a true “pundit.” Look at the facts and such will likely become obvious.