Spring is finally here and kids everywhere are excited that another baseball season has begun. Those of us in the Westhampton Beach School District are fortunate to have not only two major league teams in our area, but the Long Island Ducks as well. The school district fields high school and middle school level teams as well, and there is enormous interest among the boys in playing baseball.
Of course, not everyone can “make the team” and play at the varsity level so, inevitably, there must be “cuts” and some boys will have to sit out the season. It is a tough lesson in reality that there is not always enough room for everyone who would like to participate in any particular activity.
Yet, there is something puzzling to me about the current organization of the sports programming in this district. Given the almost daily media accounts of the rise in obesity and inactivity among our children, and the growing cries for change to these sedentary lifestyle patterns, how can a school district with the astronomical annual operating budget of Westhampton Beach not provide for a physical activity program that includes, in some fashion, each and every interested child?
Granted, not all children can play baseball at the varsity level, but would it be so difficult to establish a baseball club, a team where any interested kid could join and play America’s favorite pastime? Given that eligibility for Little League programs ends at age 12, the district should take over at the middle school level. Any child who expresses an interest in spending several hours a day throwing, running and jumping should be encouraged rather than excluded and left sobbing, broken-heartedly, in the locker room after being told he didn’t make the grade.
Shame on this administration What is needed is fewer dollars for laptops and more pennies for another gym teacher.