Dark days for sports facilities

Published 12:00 am Saturday, November 1, 2003

We are in lean economic times and we understand that fully.

We know there are many things that our schools need to be competitive both academically and athletically.

However, we must state clearly our belief that for the most part, our schools fail our children when it comes to athletic facilities.

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It behooves us to know that huge stadium lights fell at the Georgiana stadium.

If that had been on a Friday night, how many would have died?

How many would have been maimed?

More than that, how much would our system have to pay out to settle suits or worse yet, to pay off one large award?

Then sitting at a football game at Greenville's Tiger Stadium, football players do not even have a bathroom they use.

They must go wherever they can find some semblance of privacy, but alas, there is none to be found.

Where is the dignity in this for the young men on that field to have people gawk at them and even laugh because the call of nature and the closest bathroom clash?

It is a sad, and ridiculous situation.

These facilities are what visitors to our county see and although they are inanimate objects, mere buildings and facilities, they represent us all.

A few weeks back when Greenville visited Eufaula, it became clear to all in attendance that Eufaula's people cares not only for how others perceive them, but what their kids have to work with competing in sports.

Do we care?

We are not exaggerating when we say that conditions are deplorable in some of the schools. The ironic thing is that we would not want our children to live in these conditions, so why do we make them play in these conditions?

For too long, we have failed to make the improvements and additions, and now we are at critical mass in the problem.

What will it take before we say enough is enough and decide to take action.

We suggest that the coaches in all sports and their principals gather together and work out their list of what they need as being the most vital.

We further suggest that our corporate citizens step up and offer their help.

We're not talking always being a monetary donation, but give in materials and manpower.

There is no reason why there could not be some type of sponsorship advertisement inside the arenas or stadiums, which would say to the public, "This is our company and we believe this is important to our kids."

We also believe it is time for individuals to come forward to offer their help.

Maybe if we plan it out as a united effort, we could bring masons and carpenters together who could use materials donated by the corporations and build what we need, repair what we can and do everything we can to level our kids' playing field.

People visiting our county for sports events would certainly leave us at the end of the games, and they would possibly say, "Their facilities are old, but look at how well the community cares to keep them upgraded."

That's all it takes folks.

A little hope and a lot of caring.

Do you care enough to do your part?