The Eureka (Kansas) Herald runs a weekly piece called Coffee Shop Talk. A question is posed and answers are solicited from the community. I have found this feature to be considerable fun. The question this week is, “What are you looking forward to most as schools resume?”
If you guessed my answer involved stadium lights, football tickets, old friends and concession stands, popcorn and Coca-Cola, you‚d be right. With the NIL incursion into college football, high school football is left the highest remaining level of amateurism. Yes, I am choosing to ignore the revolving quarterback situations in several 6A1 high schools. I am a fan of high school athletics and this is football season.
Over the years, I have discussed what I believe is the enormous educational benefit of student participation in athletics. Athletics can be an invaluable tool for preparing students to live in our competitive and comparative society.
Every student can‚t play athletics but every student can‚t take calculus.
There is an honesty to athletics. We learn about the inequitable distribution of abilities and how to focus on our capacity to contribute based upon our personal attributes. The student learns how to appreciate diversity and how it works to help us achieve a goal. The typical running back doesn‚t have the skills nor the innate physical characteristics to play offensive tackle. But I‚ll guarantee you that without the unique talents of both, nothing happens.
And yes, score is kept. Someone wins and someone doesn‚t. Life lessons.
School‚s beginning. This year I‚ve noticed considerable dialog about a dramatic shortage of teachers and other critical school personnel. Now that is a problem.
This question hit my mind. Are our colleges and universities not preparing enough teachers? I think I should know but I don‚t. It seems to me that Oklahoma has six directional state universities that at their founding were teacher‚s colleges. We founded colleges whose primary goal was to prepare teachers. Somebody valued the education of Oklahoma‚s children a lot.
Then sometime after World War II a student evolved who stated, “You don‚t want to teach, you can‚t make any money.” They were right.
A major shortage of teachers. That is a very real problem. What about coaches? Coaches are teachers too. Oh, I know the jokes. So, I‚ll say it again, coaches are teachers too.
Now I confess the world looks more logical through the fizz of a coke on my back porch. We have athletic programs in all our regional universities. I think these programs should be designed to prepare coaches for our schools. They aren‚t? Why not? Surely kids from Oklahoma high schools are benefiting from all these athletic scholarships. Our kids are more likely to stay in Oklahoma and teach and coach in our schools.
It does seem what we are doing isn‚t working. Well, just think about it.
Many men go fishing all their lives without knowing it is not fish they are after. – Henry David Thoreau
Hal McBride writes a column, Just Thinkin‚, published each week.