Costs become an unnecessary deterrent to sports, parent supporters


By Gary Schmidt, Editor-in-Chief

We live in a society obsessed with sports. We live, breathe and die by the whims of simple, human games. And I believe this is an entirely warranted, understandable notion.

The natural parity of sports is attractive, conducive even. On the sport field, all outside factors of the world are thrown out, and we are left with a battle of will; not who has more provided to them, not who is gifted the most, but who wants it the most.

I view this as a wholesome, natural reaction. It provides broader America with a break from reality, an escape to their own idealistic world.

This trend is no different for high school students. Athletics provide a safe haven for all students. Regardless of how their school day went, or what they will go back home to after practice, for two hours a day, they have a simple escape.

I believe Lawrence High does a fantastic job making sports accessible to individuals of all incomes. Aside from a minimal fees associated with each respective sport, which in some circumstances can even be worked around, students are given the opportunity to do activities that outside of school could cost hundreds, maybe thousands of dollars.

However, this offer of an equitable experience is not granted to all parties involved. Gate prices prove to consistently to be a limiting factor for the families of athletes. At $7 apiece, a family of four could be looking at a $28 charge to simply see a child play the sport they love. Add in grandparents, friends or extended family, and this cost can appear monstrous.

Lawrence High is very progressive in its offering of family or season-long packages. Despite all their work to make things more and more equal, I believe some families still remained disenfranchised by the costs associated with sports.

First, away games are not covered by the Lawrence High pass. So, any event not held at Lawrence High instantly requires the family to front the cost of watching their child play. For sports with minimal amounts of competition, this may not appear to be much, but for many sports, they operate off a 16-plus game schedule, not even beginning to factor in playoffs.

On a similar note, even home playoff games are not covered by the season passes. As the team progresses further and further into the postseason, this cost can stack like a whole extra half of the season’s worth of cost.

I believe other schools around the state should follow in the steps of Lawrence High and work to make attending sports an opportunity that all families can afford. It is feasible that the Sunflower League could create a season pass for all its member schools, adjusting the price to incentivize its purchase, that would make attendance more affordable for all parties.

If this were instituted, it would allow for students traveling to away games to make their out of town trips more cost efficient and would make supporting their own school more affordable. It would allow parents to see their children compete at a manageable cost.

As for postseason events, I believe KSHSAA could prioritize its fans that ultimately pay their wages and take steps toward making events more affordable for all.

Ultimately, what makes sports special is the sense of community they bring. When parents are cheering on their children and students are cheering on their peers, the event is better for all parties involved. Money should never be a question in this world, and taking steps toward making sports more affordable would allow for that.