Puma’s extra point: The cost of sports finally hits athletes

Puma's column

Jacob Puma ’13

Online Editor

     Could you imagine a high school without a freshmen softball team or even a freshmen football team? How about no varsity softball or varsity football either? Well, without pay-to-participate intact, LCN could have lost some of their most beloved athletic teams at all levels.

As a two-sport athlete myself, I have no problem with the pay-to-participate program that LCN has now adopted. Looking around at the other Macomb County high schools, we are one of the last to adopt the system. And surprisingly enough, LCN has one of the more cheaper pay-to- participate systems around. For example, a Lake Orion middle school cross country player has to pay $200 to be on the team. While here,each sport a student plays, costs $140. For the students who are involved in 3 sports, the third sport is free, meaning they play three sports for the price of two. A discount is available for lower income families.

LCN has brought back two-way transportation for away games because of pay-to-participate. Before pay-to- participate, if the game was within 10 miles of the school, there was no transportation back to LCN after the game. Although that may not seem like a big deal to most atheltes because their parents are already at the game, there are still the players whose parents do not attend games. Those players would have to somehow find a ride home. A bus ride after a win is always a fun celebration to have with the team, while after a loss, the team can stick together to make each other feel better. Without pay-to- participate, two-way transportation would not be possible.

 

Now let’s say there was no pay-to- participate, but instead they cut middle school and freshmen level sports. Although lower level sports do not mean as much as a varsity sport as far as playoffs and championships, those levels of sports are important to the program as a whole. Think about a football program. At the middle school level, they learn the basic techniques of blocking and tackling. By the time they move into high school and become freshmen, they will learn the first components of the varsity playbook. The junior varsity team adds more to the playbook by increasing the players football knowledge. Then when the player is on varsity, they know proper techniques of blocking and tackling and most of the varsity playbook.

Eliminating a lower level of football would deeply affect the skill level of a varsity team. If pay-to- participate helps out a program to a winning season, then I believe it is worth paying for. Keep in mind that, lower level sports are important to not only football, but also for every sport a high school has to offer.

Although it may seem like a lot of money to pay with pay-to- participate, it does help out the teams. In the end, I’d rather have multiple winning levels of a sport and have to pay each season, than one varsity team that doesn’t win as many games as it should because of the lack of lower level learning.