Are Sports in Jeopardy in High Schools
Can you imagine if there were no such thing as high school sports?
Don't shrug your shoulders or snicker so fast, it may happen - and please don't accuse me of fear-mongering.
Participation numbers are not as grandiose as in past. Even the days of cheerleaders at schools is down to a small number. And there's plenty of other things attracting students once classes are over.
Lots of chatter and on-going worries throughout various Boards of Education about high school sports being affected by H1N1. Tack on the concerns about increasing numbers of injuries to students. Also, a shortage of qualified and certified coaches offering to volunteer and supervise with no recognition. And, the debate lingers about whether sports is a right for students, or a privilege.
Lots of questions and fears to increase the anxiety level of people.
Well, now throw in economics.
It doesn't seem as if funding issues are a problem in Ontario, or maybe not just yet. But throughout the United States, and recently in British Columbia, there are concerns about a shortage of cash designated to keep sports going in schools - and we're not even talking about costs to maintain fields, gyms and other facilities.
In Kamloops, B.C., where there is a funding crisis of some sort, people are talking about charging students to play school sports, much like clubs. While after school programs have kept kids off the street, school sports - and even talk of chopping championships - might be in jeopardy in many places.
Is it just coincidence that the Canadian School Sport Federation has had its annual general meeting in Vancouver, likely spending lots of money for a group of people to sit around and talk about things - that we rarely hear about? Hmm.
In the U.S., faced with steep declines in funding, many school districts are discarding sports programs. Others are considering painful cuts, despite the popularity of school sports among parents and students.
It was refreshing to hear John Campbell, Chairman of the Toronto District School Board, talk about how school sports remains dear to him and others. Cuts? No way, he said in a Sunday morning radio interview on The FAN 590 in Toronto. The TDSB, the largest board in Canada, will do whatever it can to keep kids participating, off the street and gaining that valuable non-classroom education.
Some schools have set fees already, be it charging students to purchase football sweaters or pitching in for transportation. I just hope Trustee Campbell is right.