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'Let's Use Our Passion' to Save Middle School Sports

Teamwork can save our kids' sports programs.

This week, many of us learned that middle school sports were being cut. There were many who have voiced,right here on the Patch, how disappointed they are with this decision. Many voiced their anger, and others were indifferent.

I have two school-aged children, both play Little League Softball and Baseball. My daughter a sixth grader in middle school started her years being very much an introvert. Last year we signed her up for Softball. My husband and I were in awe of her confidence shortly after becoming part of a team. She has always been a hard worker and excelled academically, but playing a sport did something to her confidence and her approach to life in general that sold me, as a parent, on the importance of organized sports. She recently expressed her interest in joining the track team and I am heartbroken that she may not have that opportunity for another few years and hopefully by then, the confidence and desire to join the team will still be there.

Children can be extremely egocentric. Team sports keep their egos in check. They quickly see that everyone gets to play and they  begin thinking as a team, not as individuals. They learn to celebrate other player’s successes because they understand how it benefits the entire team. 

They learn patience and the importance of practicing to be better instead of tossing in the towel when things don’t go right. They learn persistence and problem solving and even negotiation skills!

Most importantly, they are surrounded by positive mentors - a priceless gift to those who have no parents, are in foster care, or out on the streets after school hours unsupervised, bored and looking for "something to do."

Dedicated, skilled coaches can have an amazing impact on a child help to keep our kids focused, driven, competitive, and SAFE. You’ll see that kids sometimes respond better to their coach’s direction than their own parents. There is a level of respect, and they continue calling them “coach” long after they’ve played for them! I see this with my own husband when we bump into adults today that he once coached.

Instead of pointing fingers at a group of people faced with a very difficult task, let’s use our passion in a productive manner to come up with a solution to this problem. Are there grants available out there? Do we have volunteer coaches?  Fundraising? (In my opinion should be mandatory for all team members). Is there any way we can ask parents if they are willing to contribute financially to the sports, understanding that many are without means, instead of removing it all together?

There are some local meetings that will be taking place to constructively come together to find solutions. This platform here, and those meetings should not be used to express anger, or to vent or point fingers at city council members, school committee members, or our government in general. Let’s use our passion to benefit our kids. Teamwork is the ability to work together as a group toward a common vision/goal, even if the vision or goal becomes extremely blurry at times.   

This post is contributed by a community member. The views expressed in this blog are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect those of Patch Media Corporation. Everyone is welcome to submit a post to Patch. If you'd like to post a blog, go here to get started.

Govstench February 22, 2012 at 01:56 PM
Ron, you won't accomplish anything by attempting to shut down a lawful meeting and getting arrested. While this budget commission is not popular, it will at least bring the city back from the brink of bankruptcy. When a city spends more than it has for assets, that's bankruptcy! The General Assembly made this law to head off of bankruptcies that are coming, and they are coming. The council has had numerous opportunities to straighten this mess out but instead played politics with it. You simply can't ignore the mountain of debt that has been accumulating over the years.
Tonya Borello February 22, 2012 at 03:00 PM
Glad to hear that. I think reaching out to others with a positive outlook and an audience is a great idea too! Such as this young lady that is clearly passionate about this issue, and wants the best for her family here in EP . I enjoy her blogs a great deal; reach out to her and help to get others involved. Enough is enough.
Paul February 22, 2012 at 04:30 PM
This is an admirable initiative proposed by Ms. Monteiro and others. In order to truly be successful and earn the support of the people of East Providence, it should be, as she suggests, apolitical. The extent to which this initiative can be led by parents and powered by students, while steering clear of taking political sides, will dictate its ultimate success. As an aside, and to further enhance public support, a fund-raising initiative to be considered would be to have the students take part in the clean-up of public spaces around the City. A student asking form money at the supermarket with a sign that reads "Support Middle School Athletics. I just cleaned up the Agawam Playground" is infinitely more effective than just "Support Middle School Athletics". Good luck!
Dermody February 24, 2012 at 03:21 AM
what was the outcome? I am hoping they came to their senses.
Clean Up February 25, 2012 at 07:10 PM
Lets get rid of the Text Books, Field Trips, Band, Lunch Program. Heck lets just have the kids stay home. We will close the schools and save on heat and electricity too. This will be cheaper. Then we can give all the school department workers a ten percent raise.

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