With the fall sports season almost underway, the Winthrop Athletic Sub-Committee had plenty to discuss at their last meeting. “I can’t tell you how happy I am with how the season is beginning. It’s so well-organized,” said Athletic Director Peter Gobiel. There are currently 207 registered students signed up for fall sports this season, with total participation expected to reach 220 students.
In girls cheerleading alone, more than 20 girls are on the team. But there is only one coach. “They should have an assistant there,” said Gobiel, who is ready to hire an aid for the already overworked and underpaid coach. An expense has not yet been negotiated for an assistant because there has never before been an assistant cheerleading coach. “It’s one of those sports that needs to be fixed,” Gobiel added. A salary range of $700 to $1,000 was discussed. Last winter, the Winthrop School Committee passed a motion to approve a second cheerleading coach position if necessary. “They have enough people for an assistant coach,” said Superintendent John Macero, who noted the safety concerns the situation presents. There has been a revolving door of volunteers whom help out during practices, but to ensure a steady second coach, committee members decided a stipend needs to be created.
Aesthetic preparations have also been conducted in anticipation of the 2012 fall sports season. A full inspection of the fields, bleachers and lights was conducted, and a list of what still needs to be cleaned is being prepared. Volunteer Michael Defelice, a Winthrop resident, spent the summer repainting the boys locker room. He also sodded the lockers and spray painted them afterwards, for a brand-new look Winthrop’s male athletes can be proud of. “[That] locker room looks really good,” affirmed Gobiel.
The gym floor is another part of the athletic overhaul that now shines like new. After 15 years, it was finally buffed and repainted, and committee members want to keep it in its new state. In order to preserve the cleanliness of the gym, committee members discussed fundraiser ideas that exclude concession stands. “We would like to get rid of basketball concession stands,” said Superintendent Macero. “We’re going to spend $15,000 on doing the gym…and they’re letting them bring food in. We have to manage it better.” Macero suggested selling only water during games, with food such as pizza and hot dogs to be restricted to the cafeteria. “Part of what we’re trying to do is the that we are trying to be very aggressive and change the culture,” he said, referring to the comfort of which people feel when it comes to eating in the gym during sports games.
No final decisions were made, however, other pertinent decisions were made. It was decided that a shuttle or van would run from the Winthrop Middle School to the Winthrop High School after dismissal at 2:30 p.m. so younger athletes can make it in time for practice. A final number is needed, but the general consensus was to provide a safe form of transportation so students aren’t running recklessly to their after school destination.
Another relation to safety was brought up while discussing ImPACT testing. Dick’s Sporting Goods has provided the Winthrop Athletic Department with a grant for baseline testing relating to concussions. The test is performed before and after an injury, the results proving as a valuable resource for doctors to determine a safe return to playing sports. PACE (Protecting Athletes through Concussion Education) is the nation’s largest baseline concussion screening initiative, with the goal of providing awareness and information so every athlete, team and school can be smart about concussions. Testing will be conducted in the library for 300 to 500 athletes. This initiative will be discussed in further detail on Wednesday, September 6 at 6 p.m. in the high school auditorium. All students, parents and coaches are inclined to attend.