We just returned from the annual American Swimming Coaches Association’s Coaching Clinic. What a fabulous gathering of people and energy. There is lots of good news and unfortunately some bad news as well.
The good news is that our coaching profession is filled with many energetic smart women and men who take great pride in their profession of creating positive and nurturing cultures for young people in which to immerse themselves as they prepare for the “rest of their life”.
The bad news is that the landscape is changing as we speak, dramatically, in a financial way. We do not pretend to know the exact details but it goes something like this.
Schools are required to pay for meals for athletes on teams. This may not seem like a big deal but when you take the number of athletes at any given school – your former college or university – and do the math it amounts to millions – yes, millions – of dollars per school. Now maybe you went to a smaller college and so it is “only” several hundreds of thousands of dollars…you get the drift here.
When you add to this the specter of paying those athletes who are in revenue generating sports – football and basketball – a yearly stipend, say $2,000 per athlete, well you can see where this is headed.
So, what can you do – now?
Pick up the phone or send an email to your school and see what the need is and how you can help contribute to the solution. Think about the swimming landscape and how it would look if there wasn’t any competitive swimming. What would those 18-22 year student/athletes do? A few “rock stars” wouldn’t be impacted too much. But the landscape would be littered with souls with broken dreams. One of the big differences between our country and the third world is that our young people have hope; hope of a better day, a better tomorrow. Without competitive swimming many of those people may become disenfranchised…a shame indeed, one of uncalculated proportions.
Make the call today, now.