Some schools have it… some schools don’t. Well actually, MOST schools don’t. I’m talking about the “youth farm system”. There are however suggestions as to how it happens. If you read the piece by NWPREPSNOW, the Central Valley basketball- boys and girls, prove year in and year out that beginning at a young age and building kids’ skills early on lead to great teams that are competitive all over the state. The fact that the Shadle Park boys hoop team, with one of the most talented basketball teams in Spokane with its young exuberant athleticism, and size, could hardly compete with the “experience” of a groomed, well taught group of kids from CV that have been molded into a tight knight unit through the most influential and developmental years of pre adulthood athletics, is really something to talk about!
But a lot of things outside of the box come into play here. The successful teams like this possess:
1. The most determined parents who will sacrifice exorbitant amounts of time, energy, and money to make sure their children are provided the best instruction and most exposure as possible.
2. A set of select coaches that are passionate and exclusive to any time restraints that allow them to take ownership over programs and spend the hours it takes to develop prominent teams.
3. Most families being of accomplished adults with vast amounts of sport experience, professional esteem, and influence in their respective careers or communities which leads to a larger pool of advocates.
Now compare this with some schools in Spokane on the other side of the spectrum. Schools like Shadle and the general mid city areas for instance. The demographics speak for themselves as anyone who has been in the Spokane area for the last decade can verify. The proof of finances or lack of finances in the heart of the city demonstrates a direct contrast to the CV success. Parents in these areas don’t necessarily have less athletic children or uncaring coaches. They do in more instances however, have less flexibility in time management due to more clock-punching blue-collar jobs, less “out and about” careers that create connections, and fewer private resources to tap into as it takes time, money, and energy to produce anything, let alone a thriving youth sports program dedicated to truly helping kids, not to make money.
Some other major factors that actually help the “better” schools and contribute to the divide are….
1. Club teams recruit the best players-FACT- and often times from lesser teams. The parents with “less” believe this is best for their child. As it may work out for that individual, I have seen more often than not that as soon as that recruited player stops developing or becomes expendable for whatever reason deemed by the club directors or coaches, they are left behind as the parents don’t have the clout to maintain the usage of the individual player involved.
2. Athletes that are “left behind” at a younger than acceptable age now have to either continue struggling at the club level in games losing confidence rather than working on skills and growing into a role on a successful team. Or they must join a team with the new-found resentment and reluctance of coaches as they are now viewed as a flight risk or unreliable from continually jumping to the “best opportunity”. This contributes to the lack of cohesiveness and success of both the club teams AND the district boundary school teams.
3. Open districts that allows kids to go to schools outside their respective school boundaries of Spokane Public Schools.
4. Or plain and simple money constraints that hinder any potential progress that would otherwise be possible if dollars were available to spend on quality, early, athletic development.
This is not an excuse as to why Shadle lost the game to CV but to open the discussion about how we create more competitive balance within the OUR league in Spokane and produce better overall teams and players to compete with the more publicized schools throughout the state and Pacific Northwest.