Sunday, November 01, 2009

Pay to Play: EM08 in Micro

As a kid there was nothing I loved more than sports, particularly the NFL and NBA. I saw the rise of the Dasslers, free agency and, much later the ascension of Nike. While the majority of my attention has been caught by EM08, it took one of my favorite shows to bring home just how jacked as a nation we are. While there are plenty of enraging ramifications as EM08 continues its shit storm, the October episode of HBO's Real Sports contained a story so shocking to me that it made my already hot blood boil over. Looking back on my youth, I just can't imagine it without sports. But that's the reality for some American kids these days.

One of the most outrageous aspects to the story is that there is actually a proposal for "pay to play," which, of course, disproportionately jacks low income kids of color who start behind the eight ball to begin with. This is just... unthinkable to me.

Are there more tragic EM08 stories? Of course losing a home or compromised health care are more tragic, but I said shocking. These are kids who just want to play. Last time I checked, it doesn't get much more fundamental than that.

HBO, October 27, 2009 at:

Game Over

In the sports hotbed of Columbus, Ohio, Friday nights are traditionally all about high-school football and Saturdays are reserved for the Ohio State Buckeyes. But this year, as the Buckeyes play on, Fridays in some areas in and around Columbus have been eerily quiet: no screaming crowds, no high school bands, no cheerleaders and no football. That's because one of the largest school districts in the state recently eliminated all sports and other extracurricular activities due to a lack of funds. As students, parents and others in the community wrestle with the aftermath of this decision, correspondent Jon Frankel talks to those affected and sheds light on a growing nationwide trend of school districts slashing or completely eliminating athletic programs that were an integral part of American public education for generations.

Correspondent: Jon Frankel
Producer: Joe Perskie