Government mandated equality in an old sci-fi story I remember; attractive people wore ugly masks, fleet runners had weights locked to their ankles and so on, to equalize all. I remember thinking that was pretty weird. But maybe not. Disabled Sports will explain.
If you have feelings about President Obama’s health care program, wait ’til you see what he’s just done to sports. High School and college sports, specifically. The federal Department of Education just announced that the disabled have the same rights to play sports in school as do any other students and the schools are now responsible for providing that to them. Whammo!
Back in 1972, (R) Richard Nixon was president when Title IX famously decreed financial equality for male and female athletics in schools. Female jocks, some 310,000 then, are now about 3,373,000. The Feds, as ever preferring to mandate spending rather than fund it, said that where the money came from was a local problem, but spending on boys couldn’t eclipse spending on girls. A lot of boys sports programs have shrunken or vanished as new girls’ activities have grown.
The boy-girl compulsory equality is settled; now we’re facing…what? The hale versus the athletically challenged? I’ve been considered athletically challenged most of my life but no one ever thought I was disabled. And I’ve met “disabled” folk whom I would use great care not to annoy. I’ve seen wheelchair basketball and track events; who will pay for the special wheelchairs (very $pecial) for them? Will new sports have to be concocted for say, quadriplegics? Returned veterans with Post-Traumatic-Stress-Disorder? Kids like Adam Lanza on (we hope) meds? And of course, this applies to girls too, right? Is pregnancy a disability here? how about flat-footedness? That used to keep one out of the services and seems to me, would restrict eligibility for a number of sports. If a flat-footed girl is unable to compete in say, the hundred-yard dash, will the school have to create a hundred yard scooter dash for her? What about autistic and Downs kids whose parents want them in sports? This project has evidently received much thought, as usual in Washington. I’ll wager it’s now receiving a very great deal of thought from the nations’s attorneys…
The best feature of this very forward-looking, Progressive move, is the impact of a huge, new spending requirement on schools just as their strapped local funding sources are drying up. That will be a great help with their educational goals (those that have any).
Reflecting a bit, one recalls the University of Chicago famously abandoning college football in 1939. All the suddenly available money and effort went into education, instead. The kids kept club sports; their physical development wasn’t forgotten. Suppose public schools just stopped dumping huge outlays into sports? I can see the tar and feathers coming out already, but tell me…wouldn’t we be better off? Before yelling: “No!” kindly be prepared to explain why…
Seems to me, with honest equality,nobody can win, right?