Mrs. Maurer is on her soapbox this morning and is going to talk about football, so all you coaches just have an extra cup of coffee and don’t start throwing things...yet. My brothers played football, my son played football, and my grandson plays football. I’ve been to my share of games and “cheered the home team”. I like college football. However, I think professional football players are for the most part over-paid prima donnas and I wish they were better role models for young athletes. With that as my basic background and experience I’m going to voice my annual gripe about the local news coverage of football.
Each year we are treated to sneak previews of what the local teams are doing to prepare for the new football season. This begins in early August and is in full swing by the time the players are actually back in school. Then we get highlights of the training programs and any new strategies. Next are interviews with ALL of the area coaches. We might even get two or three interviews with promising NEW coaches. And there are always new coaches because so many move on after a losing season. Then there are comments by players, reviews of the records of returning players, and perhaps even a statement or two about any promising newcomer. This is capped off by each coach’s positive affirmation that they have the capability to beat their rival opponents and win the district championship! Amen! Yeah team!
Where is the comparable coverage of academics or the arts? Where are the interviews with the new science teacher or band director? Where is the “You go for it!” for the new English teacher and her plans for teaching literature in a way that excites and engages students? How many principals get air time to explain how well their school did in the state tests last year and how much improvement they expect this year? How many people know anything about the preparation, practice, team effort, and hard work it takes to graduate from high school these days? Where is the coverage of how many football players are passing their tests and getting a good education to prepare them for the possibility that they will NOT go on to be a highly-paid professional football prima donna? What attention is given to schools that do not even have a football team?
Sure, there are little bits and pieces of reporting that keep us apprised of education, especially if there is an argument at a board meeting, or one of our local schools gets a warning about poor performance, or there is a budget cut, or a bus problem. There is even coverage later in the year of the well-rounded athletes who are doing great things in the classroom. There are interviews with the “stars” and the winners and the best of the best in some academic contests and arts events. But for the most part the media spotlight is always on sports and on football in particular. Education gets the leftovers. And I think that says a lot about our society and our priorities.
(P.S. The photos are a calf born yesterday.)