Commerce League Preview and My Thoughts as Spring Heats Up

By Cara De Carlo

Check out the softball team I’ve joined. It’s a coed league out here in Murrysville and Delmont, and we have our first three games this Sunday. I hope I have enough gum.

Overall, there’s a lot going on in local sports. My alma mater, Franklin Regional had a tennis match with Kiski Area, today. The Panthers started the season winning five of their first six section matches. Now, they’re on their way to a 10th consecutive section title. The Penn Trafford softball team did not play today, but they opened the season 4-0 (1-0 in section). They’ll continue section play this Tuesday at Norwin.

But perhaps the most interesting thing is where sports business meets high school. There are few things hurting more than school districts right now, and the PIAA suggested cutting games. In a meeting today with WPIAL athletic directors, PIAA director Brad Cashman presented a plan to cut one or two regular season games from all sports except football, which would be left alone. WPIAL athletic directors opposed the idea, but I’m left with a couple of questions:

1)      Has this been done in other areas? How many scholarships get lost?

2)      Is football around here really that untouchable? Again, how many football scholarships come from WPIAL schools versus schools in other areas?

I’m asking these questions because I don’t know the answer. What I do know is that Franklin Regional is considering collecting fees for students to participate in sports. Public schools can no longer afford to be public. The Post-Gazette article I linked even said that Wilkinsburg cut their baseball program because it lacked participants. Somehow, I doubt they’ve all gone to the chess team.

My point is that maybe we should look at the national numbers before writing off Cashman’s suggestion. The high schools in western-PA are using periodic tables from the Johnson era and paying the teachers in apples (also from the Johnson era). How much money has to be pre-invested in our athletes in order for them to get recognized by colleges and universities? Would one or two fewer games really prevent someone from seeing true talent? Conversely, how much would the cuts really help?

In conclusion, I offer two things. The first is that paying to play is nothing new; it’s a part of the real world. The second is that Will looks comfy in that video. (I don’t really have a second conclusion.)

We all just have to play ball while we can. ‘Cause tomorrow it’s all PA Cyber…

Cara De Carlo is the admin/editor of Sportsgazelle.com.

Published in: Commentary, Softball

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