The North Kitsap student athletes who made their voices heard at the decision hearing for the Athletics and Activities recommendation for NK secondary athletics next year were most graciously accepted by the school board — albeit disregarded with a motion to approve.
Students representing three of NK’s athletics teams spoke to the board on the importance their Viking teammates have meant to them.
“If you’re on a team or have been on a team, you know that feeling of unity,” NK senior Lindsey Sprague said.
Sprague is a part of the renovated North Kitsap girls basketball program which is carrying teamwork, unity and pride in its game, in its players’ words and in the players themselves this year. That’s not something a group develops overnight, nor is the confidence which results. Now both could be dashed before their prime as the team will likely be split between North and Kingston next year.
Most of the students who have addressed the board have expressed their displeasure with the idea of splitting up their teams, and most have asked for only a year or two of transition. But on the other side of the coin, proponents of the split say that Kingston High School must develop its own identity — in which athletics and activities will play a major role.
So it was left up to the school board to do what is best for kids.
As the directors heard the pleas of several kids asking that their teams remain as Vikings, the directors noted in response that with teams at both Kingston and North, opportunities for all kids to participate would be maximized — a driving factor in the construction of the new high school.
Unfortunately, those opportunities may only be awarded to those students who can afford a $90 per sport fee to play.
That extravagant amount is what the district is estimating it will need in order to help cover the costs of the extra-curricular programs at a time when it is scrounging to cover its curricular and logistical necessities.
In fact, following the AAC recommendation approval, NKSD finance director Nancy Moffatt stepped to the podium amongst an exodus of the audience to announce that the district has already spent $380,000 over what it had budgeted for utilities costs this winter.
Perhaps combined teams, which NKHS athletic director Trish Olson noted “save money all around,” aren’t such a bad idea. But then one runs into the sticky situation of bussing kids back and forth for practice daily.
Perhaps board president Melanie Mohler’s sentiment that since this split has to happen sometime, why not the present, holds more water.
Ultimately, it comes down to the age-old life-lesson of doing the best with what one has when they have it.
With the mature brilliance that North Kitsap student-athletes have displayed to this Herald sports reporter and the community at large, we find it hard to believe that those characteristics will be erased once the purple and gold are divided into Vikings and Buccaneers.
Then again, we completely sympathize with those players who have spent the past few years envisioning and working toward what their high school sports careers would be like. The decision seems to have come at the worst possible time for these kids, and it is not fair that those dreams should be altered.
I, myself, was once torn away from an outstanding team which I was a part of. Sour grapes.
After completing back-to-back undefeated seasons in both football and basketball during our seventh and eighth grade years, state championship talk in the small town was already brewing.
But as we entered high school, our team was separated, and I was forced to join a new one 60 miles down the road. I fought it kicking and screaming while my parents made the decision of what was best for me, effectively altering my dreams.
Thankfully, the universe tends to unfold itself just as it should.