April 19, 2017 |

Legislature hurts athletes

Blaming Sweetwater County School District No. 2 for the elimination of four activities in the high school’s athletics calendar is unfair.

The district, having its hand forced by a state legislative body more interested arbitrarily cutting numbers from its budget than doing a more responsible, needs-based budgeting process, did the best it could do in the situation. Unfortunately, that means the end of the indoor track, wrestling cheer, spring tennis and spring golf programs at Green River High School. Sure, with increased funding, it’s likely we’ll see those programs return at some point, but for now, the next school year will have a few less opportunities for high school students.

Where students will truly suffer for the legislature’s shortsightedness is during the Winter months.

With the elimination of indoor track, a large number of students become unable to participate in a winter program. While one could make an argument that the Wolves and Lady Wolves basketball teams in particular would benefit, from the end of the indoor track program, that argument falls apart when one considers the number of students cut from the basketball teams.

For boys, not making the basketball team means either joining the wrestling team, speech or cheer.

Those are fine activities, but the concern I have is without the indoor track program, many of those students who would participate may decide not to take up a different sport because of how different they are.

While the stronger athletes could see success on the wrestling mat, distance runners might feel discouraged because it’s a sport so different than what they’re used to. Likewise, other participants in those eliminated sports could face similar situations.

Beyond that, with increased in activities fees, families with more than one child participating in high school activities will likely feel a pinch next year. Again, this shouldn’t fall on the district, but on the legislative body so keen on arbitrarily cutting its budget.

The legislature needs to re-evaluate its cuts on education, not just for athletics, but the other important aspects of education that will also suffer should these cuts continue in future years.

The student athletes who would have participated in indoor track, wrestling cheer, Spring tennis and Spring golf next year will likely find other pursuits, but they’re losing out on an education not available within the confines of a traditional classroom.

This isn’t about simply maintaining successful athletic programs. Students have lost the ability to take part in programs that have helped others grow and develop into successful adults.

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