When my brothers and I played football way back in the 60s -yes I still can remember those days. I honestly believe that if it wasn’t for the sport, I would have dropped out of school (Larry did and spent his senior trip in Vietnam). Every year we would look forward for the season to begin and playing in the football games was dream-come-true for some dirt-poor Indians. We never went on to any athletic success after high school, but football kept us in high school.
I don’t think some people recognize facts like this if it reached up and slapped them in their worthless faces. Over the years I saw so many kids drop out of the local school system. The drop rate for Indian students here is high over the years, but it’s something people don’t want to talk about. Now, they have to finish school to get a percentage of their per-caps, but that incentive wasn’t always there. Sadly, some had the potential to do so much more with their lives.
Sure some parents didn’t give a damn and some of the students probably didn’t either, but let’s go back to the original notion, sports does help students stay in school and can keep them out of trouble and there is plenty of that out there.
With my grandchildren, I’ve had a mixed bag of success. My oldest Tara, stood out when she played basketball, scoring 35 points in one game and making all-league two years running but after that it was hit and miss. Nyeh Washkeh loved the game of basketball, but wasn’t given much of chance to play and he left to play at Kickapoo Nation School and graduated from there.
Now we are going through the same thing again. My grandson Hooty also left the local school system, where he was given no playing time. He quit the team and the coach didn’t give a damn and didn’t even ask why? Last night, he played his first game at KNS. He scored 5 points and 3 assists. All he wanted was a chance to play and getting some playing time isn't too much to ask.
Think about it when was the last time any athlete from any of the local schools turned pro or went to KU, which is the closest to the pros you can get? I guess, in a sense, school ball is like the work force, it's not what you know, it's who you know! It shouldn’t be like that in the school system no matter where you live. Let the kids play – you never know, it might make a difference!