The biggest news of the day is, in the big scheme of things, unimportant. It does not even rise to the level of triviality. It directly affects less than a hundred people in a depressed part of a depressed community in a depressed area of the nation. But I am one of those people, as are eight children I work with every day.
A year ago, facing a massive $39 million budget shortfall, the Toledo Public Schools cut cross country among many other programs. I have coached cross country for most of the 17 years I’ve taught in TPS. When the cuts were announced, the kids came to me and said they still wanted to run, so we formed a club team and ran in road races and a few high school meets (which took some risk, as the OHSAA does not allow school teams to compete against non-school teams, which we were). I posted the end-of-the-season speech I gave my team last year, where I cited Edison Pena and how he used running to help him through a time when success was far from certain, and that we all can do this in our times of trouble.
Then, this morning’s headline in the Toledo Blade…
TPS restores cross country
City League commissioner of athletics Ed Scrutchins confirmed Wednesday that Toledo Public Schools will restore some of the athletic programs its board decided to cut a year ago when the district was attempting to offset a budget deficit of nearly $40 million.
Returning for the upcoming 2011-12 school year will be high school varsity cross country for boys and girls, as well as a modified version of four sports at the junior high level.
The eight kids that have been putting in the miles every morning with me will have a real team and a real season. We head out to a one-day multi-team running camp at 1:00 this afternoon. We will be the celebrities.
What’s on today…
Stockholm’s Diamond League meet, the Dag Nyheter Galan, starts a day early with the BIG SHOT competition, held in the Kungsträdgården city square.
Men’s start list / women’s start list
Live webcast from 10:00 AM ET (supposedly available in Sweden only)
The men’s competition is not an official Diamond League competition, meaning that no points are at stake in the season-long standings. The women’s competition will see points awarded, and Valerie Adams (New Zealand) and Nadzeya Ostapchuk (Belarus) come in tied at 8 points apiece.
The International Competitions in Memory of Belarusian Athletes ,an EAA Area Permit Meet (and a meet name that probably rolls off the tongue better in Russian), takes place today at the Traktor Stadion in Minsk.
What happened yesterday…
Runner’s World’s Racing News: Ryan Hall has committed to running the Chicago Marathon, just 14 weeks before the Olympic Trials marathon. If we had a track & field version of Pardon the Interruption, we could fill the whole show with debate about whether or not this is a good idea.
Florida’s football/sprint star Jeff Demps has committed to coming back for this fall’s football season, but only after the World Championships are over. Here’s the situation as I understand it: his scholarship is now paid by track rather than football, and he knows his future is more financially secure in track, so football is now for fun only.
*Note to Will Muschamp and 100+ other college football coaches: Nick Saban and Urban Meyer are the two most track-friendly guys in the game, and the only ones who have hoisted multiple crystal football BCS Championship trophies. Coincidence? I think not.
Bernard Lagat is USATF’s Athlete of the Week, a rather obvious choice given his new American Record last week.
Jamaica’s Pan-Am champ discus thrower, Traves Smikle, has narrowed his college choices to Nebraska, Georgia and Alabama. Dan Waters already working the magic for the Tide…
If this bill passes, this weekend’s USATF Masters Track & Field Championships in Berea OH will be MUCH more interesting…
Social Security Reform Bill Encourages Americans To Live Faster, Die Younger