The commentary “Practice-field skirmish lends ‘Insight’ to narrow thinking” by Slim Smith makes absolutely no sense. How does the story of a “multi-million dollar sporting event throwing trinkets to the local money pinched high school district to abuse their facilities” equate to the “troubling ideology that greatly undermines the nation’s efforts to recover from the worst economic depression since the 1930s.” What he should be writing about is that in our nation’s time of economic problems why do college football coaches receive hundreds of thousands of dollars in bonuses on top of their seven figure salaries to appear in one of the few dozen bowl games around the country. Or maybe do some investigation into where the tens of millions of dollars that go the participating schools actually is spent.
What he should not write about are things he has not fully researched. The relationship Mr. Smith is talking about throughout the entire commentary is between the Tempe School District, not Corona Del Sol High School, and the Insight Bowl. There are several high schools in the District that can fulfill the Insight Bowl requirements and the burden of hosting the team should be rotated through those schools.
What Mr. Smith also fails to mentioned in the commentary is that the six weeks in which the fields are not available are the preseason and first half of the regular season, a time when consistent practice conditions on actual soccer fields is critical.
Mr. Smith then explains that the loss of the fields is largely mitigated by the City of Tempe allowing the use of the Tempe Sports Complex. And although the complex is nice, the use of the fields for games actually costs Corona Del Sol money (Mr. Smith obviously does not consider the cost of the buses and equipment personal required to move a home game off campus significant). And using the fields for practice is only viable for the students that happen to be old enough to have a driver’s license and a car. The two JV teams still need to practice on campus for both cost and logistic reasons. They end up practicing on the outfield of the baseball diamonds (which does not sit well with the baseball boosters).
Another misconception that Mr. Smith tries to sell to his readers is that the Insight Bowl rejuvenates the fields for the High School. It is indeed a fact that the Insight Bowl reseeds and manicures the fields as Mr. Smith states. However, they then send a hundred 200 pound football players out on them for two weeks to tear them up. He also does not mention that the Insight Bowl does not pay to water the fields after they leave so the school stops watering due to budget constraints and whatever grass was left soon dies away and the field is left in worse shape than when the Insight Bowl arrived.
What I really enjoyed about the article is the one sentence he threw in about the two scholarships the high school gets for its trouble. The total amount of the scholarships is $1000. Considering the tens (if not hundreds) of millions of dollars involved in the production of the Insight Bowl this is similar to the early explorers trading trinkets for gold.
Mr. Smith continues his naïve overlook of the situation by suggesting that any monetary gain (which I believe is minimal at best) the high school gets from this relationship is shared equally among the different sports. Nothing is ever shared equally in sports. The more popular sports get the most attention (and resources) while the least known sports get very little. It’s called economics!
I am not saying that having a visiting college football team train at a local high school is a bad thing. In fact it can be very beneficial for the high school, especially if more interaction between the College Coaches and the high school athletes occurred. Having the high school football team watch an open practice, or having the College Coaches run a day long clinic for the high school players, or even have the College Coaches give an evening presentation to all the high school athletes about being a student athlete in college would greatly benefit the high school students.
What I am saying is that the opportunity to host the visiting team should be shared among the high schools in the District that have the required resources. Having the high school soccer teams be inconvenienced every four or five years is much more beneficial to the common good then demanding that specific group of people continually give up their rights for the benefit of others (and in this case a very few). I would also like to suggest that before Mr. Smith throws around his preponderance of evidence he actually fully investigates it first. He might even want to provide some value in his commentaries by suggesting useful solutions.
Oh yea, and what did this have to do with our global economy?
I have very little to add. The previous commentary on Slim’s commentary echos my sentiments. One major issue with the whole situation is the poor communication or shall we say lack of communication re. this situation. It appears that this agreement comes from Mr. Adolf at the district level, but at the school level there is much rumor and innuendo. This is the fourth year Corona has hosted an Insight bowl team. For the present Seniors that means half of their high school home games were actually played “away”. This also means loss of revenue in ticket sales, and concessions and less fans coming to games because they are off campus. It has been said that the “Girls’ team” and coaches don’t mind. That may be true. But in my unofficial poll at the Boys’ games for the last three years that we have been part of the team, they do.
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