Montgomery County Athletics Next Casualty of Cutbacks

4:33 PM, Jul 14, 2011   |    comments
Both Paint Branch and Blair are going to be two high schools affected by Montgomery County's budget cuts that will reduce athletics by over $700,000.
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The one thing I've been trying to improve about myself recently is fixing how my eyes tend to glaze over and my ears tune out once people begin talking about statistics. 

Just to give everybody some perspective to my abhorrence of statistics and big, intangible numbers, I scored a "1" on my Advanced Placement Statistics exam in high school.  I won't pretend I know what a "1" equals when discussing grade point average or SAT scores, but I just know I did not receive any college credit for math after that bad boy.

Now at the ripe age of 23-years-old, I understand the use of statistics.  Statistics identify trends.  Statistics provide tangible numbers to describe complex thoughts and practices.  Statistics are fun! (Riiiiiiiight...)

I'd like to think I'm getting better.  To begin my reformation, I'm trying to follow this summer's movie theater box-office receipts to follow trends of the mainstream American movie-going public (Americans love robots, blowing up buildings and potty-mouthed bridal parties.  Americans -- except for me -- hate Ryan Reynolds.) 

I'm following both the NFL and NBA lockouts intently since they, at their respective cores, are about billionaire owners and millionaire athletes figuring out how to cut up the revenue they make.  

After all the tired litigation and posturing by men who will make more money than I could ever really need, it all boils down to two things: football will return strong as ever.  Basketball...well it just bums me out when I start to think about it.

I became equally as bummed out when I heard that Montgomery County finished up their budget for the 2011-2012 school year.  With my newly acute statistic-privy mindset, I was alarmed to see that Forbes Magazine's 10th Richest County decided to reduce this year's athletic budget by ten percent. 

Without nickel and diming everyone, the budget cut's highlights (if you could call them that) are to:

1) reduce the Junior Varsity season by two to three games and

2) only compensate coaches for one practice in the traditional summer "two-a-days" practices and workouts.

The cuts in coaching stipends and such aren't too troublesome.   Montgomery County is trying its hardest not to affect the student-athletes directly, so they're chipping a little off the coaches to save the kids. 

But in a county where I've been charged over $100 in parking citations (a downtown Bethesda parking structure stuck in 2003 using bootleg parking meters where everywhere else on the planet has parking vouchers where you pay when you leave rather than forcing a time limit on you) as well as speeding citations (getting caught by the 39 different speed cameras on River Road that knock you for speeding at the middle of the night), it's unacceptable to be reducing games from public school athletics.

I lived all over the country and nowhere else have I seen as finely manicured highways than in the 301 area code.  I read that Montgomery County businesses made close to $150 million from hosting the U.S. Open this summer.  Those qualities make the headlines.  Cutting back $17.4 million from academics elicit small stories below the fold. 

I'm all for capitalism, but there's no way for the county to dip into the other services it provides in order to prevent cutting back on academics, and in turn, athletics?  I don't' care whether or not a school's athletics program is competitive or not, just as long as it has an athletics program.

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