When the world watches the Super Bowl on Sunday night, people will love the celebrations, the fireworks, and the whirring towels.
They will forget that every Pittsburgh Steeler or Arizona Cardinal has one thing in common: they played high school football.
If it wasn't for high school football, there probably wouldn't be a Super Bowl. If there wasn't high school baseball, then you can kiss goodbye to a World Series. And if there wasn't high school basketball, then you can wave 'Au Revoir' to the NBA Finals.
Because if the economy gets any worse, then this could be a reality.
While Wisteria Lane is becoming No Hope Alley and the lines of people picking up welfare checks is getting higher, then the states are more focused on helping the jobless instead of helping the public schools.
But as the ‘trickle’ down effect happens—we've already seen public university Rutgers cut six programs as a cost-cutting initiative—the nation’s high school sports teams—the very reason why college programs exist and professional sports stars exist—are starting to feel the strain of the depression.
This writer was saddened and shocked to read the Mercury News from San Jose (after being 'tipped off' in an earlier article by Sports Illustrated), that said that East Side Union District was looking to eliminate athletic programs serving 11 schools and 25,000 students.
You probably wouldn’t know this, but East Side Union District has produced a Heisman Trophy winner (Jim Plunkett, who attended James Lick High School) and All-American and Morris Trophy-winning lineman George Achica (Andrew Hill High School), as well as NFLer Mervyn Fernandez (also Andrew Hill).
St.Lucie County in West Palm Beach, FL could do the same.
Now imagine what would happen if East Union DID cut sports—and every school district in the nation followed.
There would be no next Felix Jones (Booker T.Washington High School, Tulsa, OK), Adrian Peterson (Palestine High School, Palestine, TX) or LaDainian Tomlinson (University High School, Waco, TX) for the next few years. Great for current NFL rookies and veterans, but crappy if you're either an a) high school football fan or b) a college football fan. No high school athletics, no recruits.
It might seem like a joke, but if this depression gets worse, the threat will become a reality for the more desperate-for-cash high school districts.
This writer knows the pro-cuts argument. It saves millions of dollars in budgets. And more's the point, brains should come before brawn.
But while brains is fantastic, brawn still needs an outlet. An outlet for energy and for passion. This energy might not come in solving equations or writing great poems. This passion might not come in playing guitar like Clapton. This energy might come in a slam dunk, a monster hit, or a 90 mph fastball. This passion might come with yelling on the sidelines or getting involved with the school pep band or celebrating the win with your fellow cheerleaders.
High school sports isn’t just important: It’s the lifeblood of how schools operate. A high school can come together when a school's in a playoff run. High school sports spawns marching bands, pep rallies, pep squads, equipment managers, athletic directors, and coaches.
By cutting the athletics from a school, a district board will do the thing that it doesn't want to do: Disenfranchise the future.