Last week we noted that back in 2000, the athletic user fee at Winthrop High per sport was $75. In this weekâ€™s through the years column for 1990, the first user fee went into effect at $25 per sport.
There is no doubt that the current higher user fees are having a pernicious effect upon the ability of our children to play sports. Up until recently, the Winthrop High boys and girls track teams routinely were among the top of the Northeastern Conference, despite Winthrop being the smallest school in the conference and track is a sport where numbers really matter. But now, we barely have the numbers to field a girls team and we are unable to do so for a boys team.
The Focus section of the Boston Sunday Globe two weeks ago discussed the benefits of athletic participation by students at the high school level.
Although the primary focus of the article was on the surge in athletic participation by girls and how they have benefitted since the enactment of Title IX in 1972, all of the conclusions of the study point to the benefits of sports activities not only for children of both genders, but for the rest of society as well.
To put it in a nutshell, children who play in organized sports activities in their middle and high school years are more focused; do better academically; are healthier; stay out of trouble; get into better colleges; and get better jobs.
It is a sad, sad commentary on our times that communities are turning off street lights, roads are being left unpaved, and athletic programs in our pubic schools either are being cut or funded by the students themselves. If our children stop playing sports, in the long run, we all will lose.