OPRF should eliminate football

Opinion: Letters To The Editor

December 11th, 2018 1:03 PM

I am mystified that the OPRF High School discussion seems not to include eliminating football. Surely a community that fancies itself to be at the leading edge of social issues should be appalled that we continue to facilitate and celebrate the destruction of our youths' minds and bodies. Apparently we can ban smoking but not gladiatorial carnage.

And herein lies the solution to several footprint issues: Tear down the stadium. Site a new, modest swimming pool on part of the stadium footprint. Put tennis courts on the roof. Devote the southwest corner of the site to whatever new facilities the police department needs.

A collateral benefit is that the police, who seem to spend a great deal of time at OPRF, can simply walk there. Walking the neighborhood is a best law enforcement practice anyway.

Bob Stigger

Oak Park

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  • Jim Frenkel (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: January 1st, 2019 1:05 PM

    Fwiw, I actually don't have skin in this game (pun intended.) I'm guessing you haven't been to one otherwise you would understand just how much of the student body, and faculty, are involved -- not just the players and coaches, but the cheerleaders, and the band, and the student workers-- and how all of that becomes part of a school's identity, which clearly is broken right now at OPRF, if one is to believe all of the articles in the Wed Journal. Go and see for yourself before making a decision. Or, and this might seem scary, even talk to the students themselves!

  • Neal Buer (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: January 1st, 2019 12:54 PM

    Jim, only 1/34th (3%) of the school plays on the football team. I doubt it changes the education of our children. Not certain that the goal of the school is to provide entertainment to its citizens.

  • Jim Frenkel (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: January 1st, 2019 12:53 PM

    Note that elsewhere in this op-ed he argues similarly against building a new swimming pool at all. Or additional spending PERIOD. Given the volume of his contributions and the frequency with which they make it onto the website, I'm guessing he is a FOD (aka Friend of Dan's). See this op-ed "piece"

  • Jim Frenkel (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: January 1st, 2019 12:38 PM

    Not to make this an ad hominem response to this op-ed comment, the section to which Mr. Stigger is a prodigious contributor, but I'd like to point out the likely agenda of the writer. He is an Oak Parker with kids who graduated from Fenwick, who now is stuck with the tax burden while neither his kids nor he derives any of the benefits noted below. He would likely argue differently were his son a part of the football team or had he a child who derives a sense of pride and community from a successful interscholastic program. To understand what @Robert talks about below, anyone who wants to be truly informed on this topic should buy a ticket to the opening OPRF football home game, grab a box of popcorn, and just OBSERVE-- if not talk to the students and athletes about what it means to them.

  • Neal Buer (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 29th, 2018 10:24 PM

    You make a good argument for club programs. With proper management, the club football team could even turn a profit.

  • Robert Laible (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 29th, 2018 8:52 PM

    (Part one of Two) Coming from someone who is a former OPRF football player (2017 graduating class) and a student majoring in Sports and Recreation Management this is a topic of great concern to me. - As a prior poster pointed out, the statistical facts within high school athletics need to be understood in order to have any true argument within this topic. According to the National Interscholastic Athletic Administrators Association, the N.I.A.A.A., nationwide the leader in head trauma injuries is girls soccer; not football. - In terms of the idea to build an extension of facilities for the police, it does not make sense. This should be a concern for the village of Oak Park and not the high school. The high school hires the services of local law enforcement but it is not the school's duty by any means to build the police department's facilities. - Under Title IX and highlighted by the NIAAA program, initiatives do not need to be equal along the lines of sport to sport, gender to gender, arts to arts, or sports to arts but they do need to be equitable. This means that dollar amounts do not need to be matched in order for financial endeavors to be lawful. - According to the N.I.A.A.A., nationwide less than two percent of high school budgets go towards athletics. Taking away the heart and soul of the athletic department only provides a minimal amount of financial support for other endeavors; in fact, it would be counterproductive. A huge part of this topic is the sheer economic impact these implications have. Football is the sport that makes all other sports and artistic activities possible. We are in a fortunate situation that many high schools nationwide do not have the to privilege of having. This privilege is that our athletic program is revenue generating to the point it is profitable.

  • Robert Laible (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 29th, 2018 8:50 PM

    (continued- part two of two) - I implore anyone in Oak Park to go to an O.P.R.F.H.S. Varsity home game in order to see for themselves the positive impact the football program has on the community. If we eliminate the football program we would actively be destroying a great contributor to our community's identity. - A tort has not been filed for several reasons. The first is that the OPRF football coaching staff teaches players the proper techniques in order to mitigate the amount of risk to their bodies on any given play. In addition, there is an assumption of risk that all players know when they are signing up to play the sport. This assumption of risk is even stated in documents athletes and their parents have to sign before student-athletes can perform in any athletic capacities. - O.P.R.F. cannot become Hinsdale Central, what they have done goes beyond shameful.

  • Bruce Kline (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 22nd, 2018 4:37 PM

    Brian: Sorry: Long Term Facility Plan (LTFP).

  • Brian Slowiak (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 22nd, 2018 4:14 PM

    at BK: What is LTFP?

  • Robert Zeh (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 22nd, 2018 7:48 AM

    Let me propose an alternative solution. Let the parents and students decide which activities have costs and risks that outweigh the benefits.

  • Bruce Kline (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 19th, 2018 10:29 PM

    Hey don't take it to heart Mr. Adams. Realize this is largely about a small but vocal and well to do group of aquatic true believers who just want their giant swimming pool - come hell or high water! They first tried the "it's not about a pool, it's about performing arts" gambit in 2016. Despite that subterfuge, they lost that years' referendum. Now their latest tomfoolery is "it's not about a pool. It's about a LTFP." They sense this also might be a losing strategy. So how about "football kills brain cells?" Well then maybe if that "stuck against the wall" they could tear down the stadium and voila - plenty of room not only for a giant 40 yd pool but for the "holy grail" of aquatics: a 50 meter olympic sized monster. I suspect that is what is really going on here - as Tom alluded to in an earlier post.

  • Michael D Adams (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 19th, 2018 6:07 PM

    "Only a Parent who chooses to be Ignorant, or one that doesn't particularly about care about their children, would let them play football." I as well as the other 400 Parents of Football Player expect an apology. It is my recommendation that you sincerely Apologize the the parents.I am not one who takes being insulted lightly. Proud Father of a Football player, Baseball Player and Dean's List Student Mr. Coon The Fifth I expect an Apology, Michael D, Adams

  • Connor Nelson (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 17th, 2018 1:52 PM

    From Samuel Francis of river Forest. If you think banning football will improve the community, you are mistaken. This is what's wrong with oak park. Sad to see. Embarrassing article.

  • Ada Johnson Tikkanen (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 17th, 2018 12:23 PM

    I just want to thank you John the V for your insightful parenting advice. B/c you are right - as a parent of a son in a contact sport - the worst of all - football - you are correct. But may I say I am well aware of that. Am mindful of it, and grateful for the stellar safety gear he wears. So I must say - it's time for other sports to wear the same gear. B/c it's not just a hit in the head which gives you a concussion - it's anything that makes your brain slosh back in forth in your skull...causing contact. (I'm no neuro but I did see a movie once). So gymnasts, dancers, cheer squads, volleyball, soccer, basketball, kids who walk down stairs, kids who aren't adept at crossing streets with potholes, kids who swing (in swings), kids who climb trees, kids who want to participate in gym class (yep concussions have happened). Oh and camping, jeez that camping - in addition to falls - hypothermia, and Lymes disease (ticks are on the upswing). And last but not least - my child will be driving - BY HIMSELF soon. There is not enough bubblewrap on the planet for this. What will I do? Oh I know - do the best I can to ensure my child's safety - while letting him do something he loves, bond with teammates, and test his self-discipline.

  • Josh Baer (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 16th, 2018 10:06 AM

    Honestly this should have been saved for April 1st !! This sport provides MANY excellent college opportunities to theses kids ! Some who may not have had these opportunities without this sport . I'm going to go out on a limb and say that doesn't happen in the BAND. Tennis or Swim teams I understand swimming is important so let's solve this multi million dollar problem without discussing silliness!!

  • Tom MacMillan from Oak Park (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 14th, 2018 3:53 PM

    Another pool parent who tries to drag other things into the conversation in a way to get the pool they want. When it costs $200 plus million to play football, we can talk about eliminating the sport. But it doesn't. Any sport that costs tens of millions should be considered as no longer necessary, but only the pool requires that sort of expense. Make it a club sport, for the same reason that OPRF does not have an ice skating rink for hockey.

  • John S Coon V (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 14th, 2018 1:47 PM

    At this point the data is very convincing. Heavy contact sports, such as football, causes brain damage. Only a parent who chooses to be ignorant, or one that doesn't particularly care about their child, would let them play football. I agree with Mr. Stigger, time to get rid of football. There are other sports that can be played that won't result in the early death of your child.

  • Jason Cohen (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 14th, 2018 1:43 PM

    I don't think this is satire at all. It's a reasonable option after all. It would solve all space issues. Having said that I don't see it as a realistic option for discussion. While I do agree the injury issue is real and a concern there's also a ton that kids get out of playing team sports. This also doesn't touch on the other students that would be impacted. Say goodbye to the marching band for example. The kids that help with all pictures and videos wouldn't be able to learn these skills.

  • Terence Jones (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 14th, 2018 12:26 PM

    The funding of specific sports and exclusion of others beggars all the talk of equity. Hooking mentoring to a sport once again usurps the responsibilities of parents. If we are to have an equitable sports program, then all sports should be no cut. If there are those who desire elite teams, let them sponsor and fund school affiliated club teams.

  • Bill Dwyer (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 14th, 2018 10:08 AM

    I'll take your point when they start executing the losers at OPRF football games, Neal.

  • Bruce Kline (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 14th, 2018 2:09 AM

    Michael D Adams: It's really very difficult to master the art of satire. We all can't be the equal of J Swift. It is satire ... right Mr. Stigger?

  • Neal Buer from Oak Park (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 9:38 PM

    @Bill, the gladiator games lasted 500 years with huge crowds. Just sayin.

  • Brian Slowiak (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 6:44 PM

    @ Michael D.Adams: Perhaps a round about way to get minority male students to drop out of school earlier, attend high school else where?

  • Bill Dwyer (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 3:37 PM

    Eliminate a sport with more than a century long history at OPRF, one that regularly attracts more.than 4,000 paid spectators to a single game? Not ever gonna happen.

  • Michael D Adams (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 2:46 PM

    Bob Stigger as an intelligent person who does his homework I'm sure you meant to say Girl Soccer should be the first to go. I'm quite confident that you are quite aware that girls soccer nation wide high school and collegiate leads all sports in Trumatic injuries. Concussions as well as ACL injuries. Also the high school football staff mentors many of their players. Many of whom are minority's. So I don't quite understand why you would like the School to eliminate football. Please explain because I'd be more than glad to share with you the benefits of the game.

  • Kati Gilson (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 12:13 PM

    I am a second generation graduate of OPRF. What always gets me is the sports always gets more $$. We had two period science labs twice a week, one of the best music, arts and drama programs. I'm so diassappoimted to the cuts in music, especially. I saw the difference when my daughter was there. We need sports, football maybe not. But all should be funded equally. The most disheartening was being an alum, I got to join the chorales concert for the Hallujsh Chorus. The kids didn't know it! Plus we never used music on stage.

  • Nick Arestopoulos (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 10:43 AM

    I have to agree. Competitive high school sports programs take up too many resources. There can be a more comprehensive physical education program for the entire student body.

  • Tom Clark (Facebook Verified)

    Posted: December 13th, 2018 9:23 AM

    This is great satire. Oscar Wilde would be proud.

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