Underfunded Sports

Tierney Brennan , Online Feature Editor

 

It’s no secret that DHS’ most talked about sport is football, which has high attendance at many games and strong local support; and it often leaves other sports in the dust. This issue is very prevalent when it comes to softball and cross country: they are given far less funding.

“I understand the school is struggling to find more money to put into their sports programs, but I think that they could allot money to teams based on highest collective GPA at the end of the season,” said Jr. Abby Scott, a member of the cross country team.

Scott says that it would be very beneficial to her and her team mates to have further funding so that they could travel as a whole team to meets, rather than just the varsity team. In addition, when the cross country team travels, they don’t stay in hotels, they camp outside. While staying in a hotel is not a necessity, it is a privilege other teams enjoy.  

“I think that not having the fiscal means to travel down to lower altitude and fast meets results in slightly slower times for athletes, so of course I would be very grateful to have the funding that would allow us to travel to those kinds of venues,” said Scott.

When asked if this affected their performance, most students agreed that it probably did, but not very noticeably.

“Maybe a couple seconds here and there, but nothing dramatically changed the outcome of a meet,” said Sr. Sam Dippold. “I know personally it’s actually enjoyable to camp, but some athletes might not see it that way.”

Camping does seem to be a unique attribute of cross country, something that makes the experience different than that of other sports.

“As a JV cross country runner this year, we very rarely got to travel and had to camp when I did get to. Not having enough money affected what meets we got to go too, what competition we faced, and where we slept on trips,” said So. Joe Pope.

It’s not hard to discern the reason for the lack of funding; cross country is not a money making sport. It does not attract a large crowd, therefore it doesn’t bring in a large revenue.

“Football receives more uniforms and funding because it’s more popular,” said So. Logan Van Lindt. “Cross country lacks advertisement in the Durango Herald and other local news; for example, if the football team lost while the cross country team won, football would still get the front page because it’s what most people would rather read about.”

Another sport that suffers from lack of attention and funding is the DHS softball team.

“Our team doesn’t have its own field for games, and we don’t have enough money for equipment,” said Jr. Joie Raybourn.

The softball girls have extremely old uniforms, about 3-4 years to be precise, and they have little to no storage for their personal gear. Their storage units have even been broken into and vandalized multiple times.

“It makes us look unprofessional, and it definitely shows on the field.” said Sr. Kylie (Dyno) Shilakais .

They even have to clean their field themselves, whereas the baseball team has someone to clean it for them.

“As the budget for sports gets smaller, I feel we are one of the first sports they take funding from,” said So. Abby Schell.

It’s understandable that it feels unfair to see other sports funded more heavily when both softball and cross country work just as hard as any other team.