Allen High School Spends $60 Million on a New Stadium: The truth about school sports

Keep in mind before I say what will surely infuriate many that I spent much of my previous Friday evening listening to the pre-season football game between my favorite NFL team The Tampa Bay Buccaneers and The Miami Dolphins. I enjoy the combat of a football game. I understand the drama of sporting events. I have known, and currently know many people who memorize sports stats and pour a lot of personal time and energy into sports as their premier entertainment. I know many people who spend their Friday nights going to football games for their local high school in the fall; have block parties in their cul-de-sacs on Saturdays when Ohio State plays Michigan, then tail gate on Sunday down at Paul Brown Stadium for The Cincinnati Bengals. These same people will rattle off statistics of sport players with great conviction, but couldn’t begin to tell you who Rob Portman is–the State of Ohio Senator who has been a potential candidate for Vice-President of The United States. They drink a lot, and take great pride in losing their senses to drunkenness, and in spite of those human faults, I still enjoy the fanfare of sports.

In Texas, as displayed to the outside world quite wonderfully in the film Friday Night Lights, high school football is the centerpiece of small town entertainment, and it does bond the community together in ways that defy logic. I could write books on why this is destructive in that it shows a tendency toward collectivism that is ultimately disparaging, but for the sake of simplicity, let’s just say that small town politics in the state of Texas loves their Friday night football. It’s an obsession really, so much so that tax payers in Allen, Texas passed a bond package with 63.66 percent of the vote from the booming suburb of north Dallas worth $119.4 million dollars, $60 million of which was designated to building a state-of-the-art stadium for their high school football team.

For the kids who play football in Allen they will play under the Friday Night Lights for their community in a stadium that rivals what many of the stadiums for professional teams play in. 8,252 people signed up for season tickets ranging in price from $40 dollars a game to $8 and they plan to sell out several of their games in the 18,000 seat arena in a town that has a population of 84,236, which is smaller than the Lakota School District in Cincinnati. The demand for football in Allen is so intense that 1 out of every 4 people plan to attend football games at the new stadium.

The residents of Allen have a median household income of $100,843, which is about $10,000 more than the wealthy area of Lakota due in large part to all the businesses that are locating to the area because of Texas pro-business attitudes. Many of the jobs that aren’t in your town because of intense regulation and high taxes are probably in Texas or thinking about it currently. And when people have plenty of money in their pocket they tend to be generous by passing tax increases on themselves without a thought of future sustainability. The people of Allen have the money and they wish to spend it on a football stadium for their local high school, and that’s that. This has led to severe criticism from people outside of Allen who don’t understand why the people of that Texas town will spend so much money on a football stadium when the state of education is so poor in America. Well, the answer is rather harsh, but must be understood in order to be truthful about the real nature of support a community has for their local schools when discussions of tax increases arise. People like to watch violence and mayhem. They love to see gladiators on the battlefield punishing other players in a quest to score a point. Those same audiences do not show up to watch some kid take a math test.

All public schools and all large college campuses use their sports programs to drive their funding models for their education institutions. “Jocks” are treated as special in schools because the school acknowledges the gladiators as the life blood of their existence. Without the Friday Night Lights, without football, schools are boring places of history, art, math and science. Only a few kids in each grade class excel in those categories and go on to become esteemed world-wide scientists or mathematicians. Most parents would rather give birth to the next Payton Manning rather than Albert Einstein and it shows in schools by what parents support. In Allen, Taxes they are just being honest about their priorities. They are not functioning from illusion. When it comes down to it, people do not care about educating a bunch of inner city kids on how to bake a cake in home economics. They don’t care if a 1000 nerds score a perfect 2400 on their SAT scores. But they do care if a kid is 6-4 and weighs 280 pounds in his junior year and can play as a guard on the offensive line protecting the team quarterback. In essence, they care about their own entertainment on a Friday Night, because once the game is over, they are back to their own lives looking forward to the next game.

On a typical Saturday during football season most men will sift through the political section of a newspaper and read intently the sports stats from the game on Friday. On Monday morning he will be able to go into his workplace and impress his co-workers with his vast knowledge about the tackles that 6’, 4” 280 pound kid had in Friday’s football game. He might even claim to know the boy’s father hoping that such a revelation will impress his co-workers with is access to celebrity. But nobody sits around the water cooler talking about how a kid from their public school won a spelling competition, or won an academic scholarship to Yale due to academic excellence in high school physics.

Schools are very aware of this leverage they have over the community. Locally, around the Cincinnati area the closest thing we have to the Texas Friday Night Lights experience is Colerain Football. Already, the band leaders in that town are letting it be known that if residents don’t pass a school levy this November that there will be cuts to the football program, and the band that plays for them. They know as school officials that the community cares about sports, but not about the positions of assistant art teachers, so the threat is directed and quite intentional. At Lakota in my home district, after three failed levies, the district cut off its nose to spite its face threatening to hurt the parents of the district by charging players $550 per sport for each player in order to force levy passage which has ended up backfiring. Lakota isn’t Allen, Texas; people are more indifferent to their Friday Night Football. If it’s there, fine, if not, they’ll go to a movie and out to dinner instead. The only parents who really feel passionate about football like they do in Texas are the parents who are hoping their kid wins a scholarship to college which will save them tens of thousands of dollars in college tuition. Lakota took bad advice from the classes the school board attended at Levy University in Columbus, Ohio that the OSBA puts on every year. In that class they learned that to pass tax increases that public transportation and sports are what motivate voters to throw more money at a public school. If those things don’t work, then nothing will. At Lakota, to make up for picking the wrong strategy in winning the hearts of the community, they have had to spend $160,000 on public relations to attempt to win back community support, which they won’t get as long as 1500 kids are being charged $550 to play sports.

Penn State covered up the sex crimes they all knew about because they understood that it was Penn State Football that drove new enrollment, and therefore revenue to their university. It is sports that drive education, not academics. In Allen, Texas at least they aren’t trying to deceive themselves in being so high-brow to not wish for the blood lust of violent impacts under the Friday Night Lights of their new $60 million dollar stadium. Nobody really cares about “education.” This is well-known, it’s just not publicly acknowledged. The people of Allen are not going to pour $60 million dollars into a program to help the poor and needy. They are not going to give it to a bunch of fools who want to build solar panels and wind mills. They are not going to give it to a bunch of socialist teachers who want to save the world with world peace. In polite conversation the tax payers will utter support for such things, but when it comes time to put their money where their mouth is, they spend it on blood, broken bones, and drama on a fourth and goal. Everything else is a waste of time and that is the key to the education funding structure. Without the Friday Night Lights, public education is just another stale experience that could easily be replaced with online classes.

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Rich Hoffman
https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

The NFL Crises: Doc Thompson Attacks “Collective Bargaining” and wants to start a sports union!

With the NFL Labor Dispute looming the largest casualty of this “collective bargaining” issue between the players and the NFL owners is the fans.

Doc Thompson discusses many of the NFL issues and introduces the concept of a sports fan union to protect the fans from labor disputes.

Here are the issues involved in the NFL Labor dispute. You can see the original article here from John McClain.
http://www.chron.com/disp/story.mpl/sports/fb/texansfront/7454328.html

Key issues in the NFL labor dispute:

Q: What is the difference between a lockout and a strike?
A: The owners lock out the players. The players go on strike. The players went on strike in 1982 and 1987.
Q: What are the primary issues behind a lockout?
A: The NFL generates approximately $9 billion a year. The owners take $1 billion off the top for expenses. The players get 59.6 percent of the remaining revenue. The owners believe that’s too much. The owners want to take another $1 billion off the top. The owners also want an 18-game schedule and a rookie wage scale that would cap salaries for draft choices. No top pick would be guaranteed $50 million, as St. Louis quarterback Sam Bradford was last year.
Q: What happens when the lockout begins?
A: There can be no contact between players and their teams. They’re not supposed to communicate. No players will be signed, including rookies, and no trades can be made.
Q: What about players who are undergoing treatment for injuries?
A: Players are on their own, but teams were able to set up a place for players to undergo rehabilitation.
Q: What about players working out, lifting weights and doing what would have been organized team activities?
A: Players are on their own as far as finding a place to lift and work out. Eventually, they’ll practice on their own. When the lock-out ends, those in the best shape should start faster.
Q: How long is the lockout likely to last and could we miss games?
A: The NFL lost seven games in 1982 and four in 1987 because of player strikes. This time, both sides would lose a lot of money. Some owners are determined to get back a large portion of revenue that goes to players. The players will have to give something back.
Q: Will there be a draft in April?
A: Yes. Players aren’t union members until they sign and pay dues.
Q: Can drafted players sign?
A: No.
Q: Can other players sign?
A: No.
Q: When do players start losing money?
A: Those with roster bonuses in March won’t be paid. That’s more than $200 million. Players draw game checks over 17 weeks, starting when the regular season begins in September.
Q: Won’t the 500 players who’d be free agents and those who would have gotten the $200 million in roster bonuses force the union to make a deal?
A: They might try to, but they’ve been warned for two years to save their money. The union will do a deal when it believes it has the best one possible.
Q: What about the ruling this week that the owners can’t spend the television network money they’re getting?
A: A special master ruled in favor of the owners. The players filed an appeal. Federal Judge David Doty ruled in favor of the players, saying the owners can’t spend the money. For instance, owners need money to make payments on their stadiums, practice facilities, etc. They’ll have to find other revenue. The owners will appeal Doty’s ruling, which could take months.
Q: Will it help for the union to decertify?
A: Every team gave the union the right to decertify. Unions can’t sue their bosses. If there’s no union, the players can sue the owners and hope they win in court. That’s a risky business for both sides. If players decertify, they can always reform as a union.
Q: Is there any individual in the NFL who has the power and respect to influence both sides and help get a deal done?
A: In 1982 and 1987, Pittsburgh owner Dan Rooney played an instrumental role in helping settle the player strikes. But he’s older, and he’s the ambassador to Ireland and may not have another fight in him. Rooney said during the playoffs he was against the 18-game schedule because the players don’t want it, and he’d rather make less money than force it down the players’ throats. No wonder the players respect him so much. As it stands now, commissioner Roger Goodell is the most likely candidate because he’s respected by both sides.

john.mcclain@chron.com

The shame in all this discussion is that the fans just want to look forward to football. Most people who spend their Sunday afternoons drinking beer and watching football would be willing to give an arm and a leg to have the opportunity to play professional football, let alone be paid so well that they’d never have to work again.

The NFL situation better be solved soon, but I don’t have faith in a resolution. I personally think that the owners will lock out the season because the upfront costs of rookie players is just too great, and there isn’t any way the owners can guarantee that the money will find its way to veteran players. And my thoughts about “collective bargaining” are the same as they are for the public sector workers. I’m not a fan.

My advice to the players is to take what the owners offer and get on the practice field and start playing football, because the fans want their football. Give it to them!

Rich Hoffman

https://overmanwarrior.wordpress.com/2010/12/04/ten-rules-to-live-by/
http://twitter.com/#!/overmanwarrior
www.overmanwarrior.com

Why Tampa Bay Buccaneer Football is the Best

I love Tampa Bay Buccaneer football!

When I was a kid, I didn’t like the social structure of the whole business. I never liked being told what to do so I didn’t like coaches. I never liked the class structure football created either. And I never liked how weak kneed grown adults got over star athletes that were half their age. That always seem weak to me.

I played soccer instead when I was a kid, and was so aggressive that my nickname was “The Animal.” Years later I realized that I probably should have played football, because to be honest, I love war.

Football is a war game, pure and simple. It’s about ground gained, ground defended, and winning.

And with that said, my favorite football team is the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Why?

I used to be a Cincinnati Bengal fan. I relate much more to the coaches and owners than I do players. And I saw a lot of myself in Sam Wyche. Sam made me appreciate football for the war game that it is.

When Paul Brown died, his son Mike wasn’t quite the same kind of man, and he didn’t like Sam Wyche. So he ran Sam out of town. And my loyalty went where Sam ended up?

Tampa Bay.

After the owner of The Tampa Bay Buccaneers died in 1995, the Glazer family took over, and brought a whole new level of attitude to football. They let Sam go which I wasn’t happy about. Wyche brought in great names like Warren Sapp, John Lynch, Mike Alstott, just to name a few, but hadn’t been able to win consistently. They sometimes won dramatically yes, but not consistently. The Glazer’s hired Tony Dungy and defensive coordinator Monte Kiffin which were a couple of people that I admired and was curious about. And between those two men, and a fantastic new football stadium, they changed the NFL.

To this day, there are more head coaches from the Tampa Bay Buccaneer organization than any other team in the NFL. Lovie Smith of the Chicago Bears, Monte Kiffin who is the defensive coordinator for USC working with his son there, Mike Tomlin of the Pittsburg Steelers, and Raheem Morris who is the current Buc coach. Those are all active coaches, not to mention the retired Tony Dungy who went on to Indianapolis to achieve more than he did in even Tampa Bay, and Rod Marinelli who didn’t have a very good time with the Detroit Lions. So they are doing many things right in that great football town.

This is my idea of an intro video to a football game.

First touchdown at the new Raymond James Stadium. I LOOOOOVE the Pirate Ship!

Always a fighting spirit.

I like the Bucs because of Tony Dungy.

I like the Bucs because of Gruden.

I Love the Bucs because of the Pirate Ship.

Redemption Awaits 2007

This is Buccaneer Football!!!!

Tampa puts everything they have into every aspect of the business.

The Announcer Gene Deckerhoff!

And I will never forget the night my wife and I were at Raymond James Stadium the night the Devil Rays went to the World Series. Glad we were there!

This video was a couple hours after the Buc game with Seattle and the tribute to Mike Alstott. It was a really exciting evening.

And this is how I bring the magic to my house every Sunday that the Buccaneers play! I enjoy the games even when they lose. Because the Bucs are always fun to watch.

With all the changes over the years, the ownership never lost their identity. Players come and go. Coaches come and go. But the owners of this team understand how to keep a good product on the field.

It’s all about passion, hard hitting, and resiliency. And not being afraid of doing the hard things to keep winning.

That’s why I love the Tampa Bay Buccaneers!

Rich Hoffman

www.overmanwarrior.com