LETTER: Have we gone nuts for high school sports?

Oliver Gold
Spring Garden Township
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As an old-time, 88-year-old former high school teacher, I just have to write this letter in response to a news story in your Sports Today section on Dec 27. 2018.
I have some thoughts and questions about the article, "Wildcats to head south for tournament." Fourteen Dallastown wrestlers, three coaches and two managers were "tripping" four days to a big-time wrestling tournament in Florida.

According to the head coach, Dave Gable, "I like to travel with a team … [we] bond as a team … [and] the kids experience some things beyond wrestling."

He claims that the higher competition would make his team better. They were to fly out on Thursday, wrestle on Friday and Saturday, go to a theme park on Sunday and then fly home. They rented a big house "with a whole lot of bedrooms and a swimming pool."

Now the key sentence in this article and the one I am concerned about is this: "The trip," Gable said, "was mostly paid for by alumni and sponsors."

And in this sentence, I am concerned about the word "mostly."

For these 19 persons, is there any public financial accounting available? Could the rest of the "mostly" be the school district and taxpayers? Air fare over Christmas is extravagant, and renting a big house with swimming pool must cost big bucks. And is going to a theme park the "experience" that Gable refers to?

When I was a teacher years ago, academics really seemed important in high schools. Where I taught there were at the most six varsity teams and to coach you had to be a teacher. Today most high schools have 15 to 20 varsity teams and hardly any teachers are coaches.

As far as I am concerned, the purpose of public school education is being trivialized, particularly here in York County. I thought that an education was to teach conceptual skills — how to think.

Schools spending a lot of money and time having the students "playing" is really a travesty.

Oliver Gold
Spring Garden Township