Remembering Where You Have Been

editorial-logo3Sometimes you have to remember where you have been, regardless of how painful a picture the memory paints, to keep from making the same mistakes over and over again. We seem to have a problem with that in Jefferson County. In the haste to shove the bad decisions under the rug, we seem to shove the lessons that should have been learned out of sight and out of mind as well. This week at the school board meeting Board Member Bradley made a motion to earmark $150,000 of the insurance recovery money from Building 8 for a practice soccer field for the Lady Patriots Soccer Team who are currently practicing off school location at the old Ruritan Park where there are no facilities and no shelter from inclement weather. There is also no place for the team to store their backpacks which contain the newly distributed Lap Tops that were a big budget item this school year. If it rains on the girls, it rains on the backpacks and the new Lap Tops as well. After coming before the Board, the team was provided with a bus ride to the off school site and they are allowed to leave class a couple of minutes early to change clothes which is great, when it works out. But not every girl has been able to leave class early due to assignments and testing and such. For those times, the girls are forced into a port a potty to change clothes. Frankly, I don’t see how they do it but they do. There was talk of moving a portable to the site for shelter and changing needs but this is their last week of regular play before tournaments start and there is still no sight of any portable shelter.

And that is exactly what Bradley was trying to get across to concerned parents, the Board and the Central Office. We have a follow through problem in Jefferson County. Perhaps a financial reminder of the promises made is not such a bad idea. No one, including Bradley, thinks that a piece mill plan is the best way to go but neither is another year of dressing in parking lots and using port a potty restrooms while scampering for shelter during storms. The party line is that the girl’s soccer and softball teams need attention but it is the elephant in the room that makes me nervous. For years, those that were supposed to represent the interests of all student athletes have let the Lady Patriots needs go by the way side while the guys are getting the up grades. I have nothing against the guys getting good facilities, I just wonder why the girls are not equally represented when it comes to handing out the upgrades? Athletes are athletes, right? And now there is talk of stadium needs and not designating a soccer practice field as a “soccer” field but just as a practice field so it can be used by other sports, like football. We call the football stadium the football stadium because it is the primary sport played there, though track, and soccer also use the field. But, we don’t want to earmark money that might limit the use of a practice field. Something just isn’t right folks. We have been sitting back for years and watching personal agenda after personal agenda gobble up good intentions. And, I do believe that most of the Board and the Director have good intentions but that dang elephant just won’t go away. Who is the elephant keeper and what is the “ultimate” plan? I don’t know. But I do know that this isn’t the first time there has been an elephant in the room and we now have prime property, owned by the tax payers, behind the Patriot Academy that is home to discarded asphalt from other, not so long ago, plans. Just another happy surprise that will have to be dealt with before/if the property can be used.

Anyway. The point is that while piecemeal isn’t perfect, sometimes we have to have a reminder to keep us on track. We should take serious stock of who we place our confidence in and should be asking some hard questions like how did we get in a situation where there is so little equity in how we treat our male and female student athletes? There are lots of needs, says the party line. Yes there are lots of needs. But safety, security, protection of property and port a potty free ability to change clothing and relieve one’s self have to be at the top of the list. This is the first big challenge of a new Board and a new Director of Schools. Piece mill isn’t perfect but, frankly, I don’t believe that Bradly was that far off base. Will it be the same old same old or is a new day really dawning? I suppose we will just have to wait and see.