What is our greatest asset in school sports?
If your answer is the kids, or the long hours devoted to teaching them by low-paid staff, it would be hard to argue.
But my answer for the greatest asset – the unique strength we have, our edge, our advantage? It is the culture of school sports.
We have marching bands and homecomings, which non-school youth sports do not have.
We have pep assemblies and pep bands and spirit weeks, which non-school youth sports lack.
We have letter jackets, spectator buses, cheerleaders and pompon squads which are missing from most non-school youth sports programs.
On a Friday night in the fall or winter in most parts of Michigan, I can find several high school games on the radio. I can find competing high school score and highlight shows on TV after the local news. Never is any of this found for non-school youth sports.
On Saturday mornings in the fall or winter, there are dozens of radio talk shows with local high school coaches reviewing the previous game and previewing the next. Never is this a part of non-school youth sports.
On radio, television and daily and weekly newspapers all school year long, I can find “High School Teams of the Week.” Rarely, if ever, is there a non-school youth sports team of the week.
School sports enjoy a standing in our communities and a status in our local media that non-school sports can’t come close to. The AAU and travel teams are a culture that disses the school and community. Ours is a culture that defines the school and community.
We are local, amateur, inexpensive and educational; and we have almost everything going for us. We need to promote and protect these things – the culture of school sports.