Respect for All Sports

by Jimmie Turner
How many times has the bus not shown up for the varsity football team before a game? In the middle of the baseball season the varsity team was sitting on the front steps of the school, waiting for a bus to a game at Parkdale High School. The bus never showed up and with the risk of a forfeit the team did not go to the game. The bus lot never had a bus scheduled for the team, whether the fault lies in the bus lots or in the school is not in question. The point is that no varsity sports team should be ignored or disrespected in this fashion. For the last two years the softball and baseball teams have had to groom the fields with a piece of used fence. Yes, an old metal fence being dragged behind the coach’s car.

How well would the football team function if the players had to bring their own pads? Softball and baseball are two sports that require a lot of expensive equipment. A decent baseball bat that fits the league specifications costs between $90 and $225; a good pair of cleats costs as much a $150. One of the principles of high school sports is that anyone, regardless of their financial standings should be able to play. How can someone play baseball without a bat?

The obvious answer is that the more popular sports get better funding and are taken more seriously than the sports like golf, baseball, or softball. The baseball team had 30 people at tryouts, the softball team barely has a JV, and the golf team has five members. The popularity of a sport should have no bearing on the funding they get from a school. It is not fair to the players who truly love the game, and just because only a few people are on a certain team it does not mean that there are not people who love the game.

In defense of the administration things are looking up for the sports that are not as popular as others. Functions like the growing interest in a spring homecoming shows the school’s growing interest. The baseball team has received some funding. Over two thousand dollars over the last two years have paid for things like benches, fences, and netting for a batting cage. However, one look at the baseball and softball fields shows that much more attention should be paid to them. The tennis courts are in total disarray, they are in such bad condition that the team cannot even practice on them.

Both the students and the faculty can help in solving the problem. For the students fund-raisers are necessary, independent of the Suitland High Boosters, and money will go straight to the team to buy uniforms or equipment. For the faculty: come out and attend a game or a tournament, the true sign of support is cheering the student athletes on. Also, the school needs to make everyone aware of upcoming events, over the morning announcements or on the sign in front of the school. When people show support for the teams, even if they are losing, they will become more popular.

This article appeared in the May 2000 edition of the Suitland High Echo.
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Updated 06/18/00