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Idea of starting a high school football program gets the boot at WRVPosted Monday, June 4, 2012, at 3:03 PM
As adults in decision-making positions, what seems like a simple "yea" or "nay" vote may have repercussions that run deep and long-term.
In late May, the White River Valley Board of School Trustees voted 5-2 not to add football as a school-sanctioned sport at the high school level.
The vote affirmed to many onlookers that those in the decision-making positions at WRV prefer for the school to remain a "basketball school."
That's understandable, but what about the 5-10 husky kid who wants to represent his school too?
Why not give him the same opportunity to earn a college scholarship playing a sport he enjoys?
On the surface, football looks like an expensive, long-term deal for a school district, like many others in the state, that is struggling to learn the lessons of making ends meet.
In WRV's case, a dedicated and hard-working group of parents and students involved in the White River Valley Community Football League offered a generous proposal to the school board that basically offered to pay for the start-up year's expenses.
The league is well-established -- founded about three decades ago by the late WRV Worthington Principal Larry Catron, who loved kids and loved the game of football and put the two together at the lower grade levels.
Over the years, the program's number of participants and fans continued to grow and its current leadership wanted to take the football program to the next level. The normal progression would be the founding of a high school-level program.
For the record, school board member Mark Downey, of Worthington, and Charles Records, of rural Newberry, voted in support of starting the program.
Board members Jason Davidson, Andrew Graves, Roger Weaver, Glenn Cundiff, and Roger Shake voted no.
The vote killed the chance to have an organized high school team for the 2012-13 season.
There's also been some rumblings in the Bloomfield School District about adding football, but so far the idea hasn't got past the superintendent's office I'm told, and there's been no formal talk about football in any public school board meeting in recent years.
Downey pointed out that he felt like the proposal presented by the youth league officials was a win-win for the school district with the football league picking up the tab for uniforms, equipment, and field accessories.
He stressed that according to Indiana High School Athletic Association regulations a new gridiron program must play at the junior varsity level for two seasons before launching a varsity schedule. This gives the program time to huddle up, get its feet on the ground and build a fan base before kicking off varsity play.
There's a good chance we haven't heard the last from the football folks, if they are still going to enroll their kids at WRV in future years.
Many would say that there are much more important things to educate our students with than something as petty as playing a football game or marching in the band at halftime.
The same could be said for the sacred sport of basketball or tennis, golf, baseball, softball, cross country or volleyball.
It's all about opportunity to learn skills and abilities that can be taught outside the classroom.
Downey pointed out that when preserving what students that are already enrolled and trying to entice others to come in to the school district, offerings like football could make a difference.
"I hate to put a number on a kid, but when the state funding is $6,300 a kid it has to be considered. I would hate to see a kid go (somewhere else) just because of football," he said.
Currently, only Linton and Eastern Greene -- the largest of the county's five school districts -- offer football.
Local football supporters tell me that Owen Valley, North Daviess and Linton-Stockton teams have picked up some WRV and Bloomfield students over the years.
Football actually got a double slap in the face by the WRV board when Downey followed with a second motion to allow the youth league to move their home games from the Worthington Elementary School field to the high school track and field complex on the WRV campus in Switz City.
That motion died for a lack of a second.
As adults we need to do more to nurture a sense of social responsibility, tolerance, conscience and ethics in our youth.
Football can be a tool to do that.
Being loyal to one's school is a commendable value. Activities to promote team spirit , like football, should be promoted.
Nick is assistant editor for the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at 847-4487 or 1-800-947-4487 or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org .
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