Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Ranting and Raving *again*

Here I go with another rant post.  Nothing too major this time, just something that is bugging me and I kinda want to see what you all think about it. 

I have been very irritated with how our school system runs the athletic programs at our elementary school.  Our school is a small school with K-8 in one building.  The enrollment is around 400 for those grades.  Pretty small, right?  The policy regarding athletics is that if there are enough 7th and 8th grades to make up a sports team, then 6th graders will not be allowed to try-out. 

So for this year, the 6th graders have been allowed to play field hockey, soccer, cheer and run cross country.  They were not allowed to even try-out for basketball or softball. 

This would make sense to me in a large school system where there is a separate middle school.  Usually, in large schools elementary school is K-6 and middle school is 7th and 8th.  But this is a tiny school and everyone is all in one building. 

My daughter (and others in her grade!) have played all the sports at the rec. level every year since kindergarten.  It is very frustrating at this age, to not even have a chance to try out for basketball and now softball.  Especially since every school system in the surrounding areas all allow 6th graders to play on middle school teams.  Even the larger middle schools! 

Instead, if they want to play still, they must play in a 3-6th grade rec program.  Third graders against sixth graders is never good.  Sixth graders are too strong and the third graders are just beginners. 

I get that they are trying to allow those kids in 7th and 8th grade who maybe aren't very good at the sport to have a chance to play.  However, if a 6th grader is good enough to make the team and play ahead of the older kids, then why not let that kid improve their skills?  Why not let them be challenged to play at a higher level?  Wouldn't this only make our sports teams better?  Shouldn't kids that have already worked hard to improve and learn a sport be rewarded for their efforts??

I'm not even saying that Sissy would have made the team (although I'm sure she would have), and I'm not positive she would have even played over the older girls.  But, I wish she could have had a chance to try out. 

What is it saying when you can just be on the team because you want to?  I feel like playing basketball this year even though I've never even dribbled a ball before so I'm going to play and because I'm in 7th grade I'm going to make the team.  Shouldn't you (at the middle school level) have to have had some exposure to the sport before?  Shouldn't a kid in 6th grade who can dribble circles around you or shoot the lights out make the team before someone who has never even shot the ball before?

I feel like it's saying that you don't even have to try or make an effort anymore.  There is no reward for hard work and dedication and love of the sport.  I feel like there is no need to take the sport seriously because even if you don't try or care, you don't get cut.  We have the rec program at the Y for beginners and those that may not take the sport seriously. 

I went to a small K-8 school as well and 6th grade was part of the 'middle school'.  We tried out for and were allowed to play on every jr. high team that the school had.  Teams that could have a lot of kids like cross country or soccer didn't have to make cuts so everyone could play.  But basketball where you can only take 12, kids got cut all the time.  If you got cut and still wanted to play basketball, well, then you'd better work harder and improve so you could make the team next year. 

There.  I'm all done.  Go ahead and string me up now for wanting to cut those poor little 7th and 8th graders who have never had the chance to play basketball or softball.  I suppose it all depends on which side of the fence you are on.  Do you have a kid that's been playing for years and putting in the time or one that is just a beginner. 

What do you all think?

Let the kids try out and the best make the team?

Let everyone play regardless of ability if they are in the right grade?


Christi said...

I am not going to cut you up because I am on your side. Kids should not be coddled. Competition is the way of the world and we continue to show them through sports, ironically, that it is not. That is one reason why we continue to have kids that feel "entitled" to everything. I am sorry you must earn your way through life! Okay, that is in my humble opinion. I will get off my soapbox. Just one more thing, don't even get me started on everyone getting trophys!

Teamarcia said...

I totally get where you're coming from. I think the idea of something for everyone has gone too far. What is so wrong with trying out and not everyone getting on every team? In my day if you didn't make the team there was always intramural sports.

Kara said...

I can see both sides of this, but in general I'm really anti-cuts on sports teams to begin with. I think everyone should be able to play (and play in the games!) because kids should be having fun, not competing like crazy.