|Posted by titantv on February 6, 2014 at 1:25 PM|
By Kayla Gallion
Is Repay Okay?
I am one of those teens that stay constantly busy; what with being involved in several extracurriculars, working nearly every evening, and looking after my siblings, I barely have a moment to breathe. It is nearly impossible for me to ever take a break from all the chaos and get to act like the kid I am, and I cannot help but be envious when I see other teenagers out with their friends. Naturally, when a basketball game was rescheduled and by some miracle I got to go, I leapt at the chance. My best friend and I are go-getters; we have demanding job hours, homework from advanced and AP classes, and activities that require quite a bit of commitment. We hadn’t had a chance to go to a game so far this season, so we obviously couldn’t believe our luck. The game was on a Wednesday, so we would get the chance to watch some of the games before having to leave; me for dance class, her for church. Our activities took less than an hour, so we figured we could come back right after and watch the varsity boys game, which is what many consider the main event. However, upon entering we noticed the harsh signs hung everywhere saying if anyone left they would have to repay, without exception, when returning. We tried to explain our dilemma at the gate, but they stood by what they had said, saying we were welcome back in with six more dollars. Frustrated but desperate to do something fun, I sat and watched what little of the girls’ game I could before I left. I had wasted some of the little money I had on barely an hour, and I couldn’t help feeling cheated as I left to return to my busy life, once more missing out on my chance to act like a high school senior.
Of course, I understand why such a rule would exist. As Coach Neil Brackett explains, the rule was actually put in place in the mid ‘70s, but is just now being strictly reinforced. “It was a little easier when the concession stand and bathrooms were in the commons area,” Brackett said, “but a few years ago when the new restrooms and concession stands were put on the end of the gym, it became harder to keep up with people coming and going.” It can be hard to place trust in our fellow man sometimes, and students and adults alike would often go out into the parking lots to engage in activities inappropriate for school grounds. Parents and school faculty would often worry about new drivers going back and forth between the ball game with friends and behaving recklessly. Some spectators even found ways to watch the games without having to pay, and so much money comes from McDowell’s sports that it was obvious something had to be done. The school has tried tickets, hand stamps, and other ways of keeping spectators reigned in, and all have had their flaws. Says Brackett, “we found out that people who would leave early would give away their tickets to other people.” He is unsure of why hand stamps are no longer used, but knows that this has been a problem since McDowell High’s beginnings. Those at the gates asked for help in monitoring the spectators, and to give MHS some credit, the administrators have tried to find solution after solution. However, I’m not sure they have found the right one.
I am not a special case. There are several students of all grades and groups who have a hard time finding ways to fit free time into their chaotic schedules. While a mere sport shouldn’t seem like a big deal for high schoolers, especially seniors, it is important to fit in a little time for relaxation and fun with friends. School can become stressful and overwhelming, as can the concept of college and our post-graduation lives. We know as adults we’ll only have less time to enjoy moments like this, and many groups of friends will go their separate ways. For young adults, that is a legitimate concern. However, those that have to find the delicate balance between responsibility and relaxation are easily and understandably frustrated when they have to waste their own money to re-enter a game they have already paid for. There are always going to be people who try to ruin things for everyone else. Without any system or rule, there would be inappropriate conduct in the parking lot and people sneaking in dishonestly. I don’t argue this, but what I do argue is what type of system should be put in place. I personally am curious to see how hand stamps would work, but regardless, there has got to be something better than what feels like price gouging to the students who really must leave, but who wish to come back and enjoy the little time they have acting like the kids they are before going back to their hectic realities. Even if it means gathering up people of all types from McDowell High and brainstorming until we find a solution, there must be a better way to maximize the money the school makes from games, the amount of spectators in the stands, and the satisfaction of those who just want to watch some Titan basketball.