Not so much fun anymore. Club sports need more school support

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James Benedict

jbenedict@hilite.org

Carmel offers a large variety of activities for its students to participate in. Whether its football or choir, there is niche for almost every CHS student. If you find yourself looking for something new, any student can start his or her own club. All that is needed is a teacher sponsor, but for the most part, CHS is very hands-off. While this allows students to make very specific and unique clubs, large clubs are starting to feel the repercussions of having limited support from Carmel and the state of Indiana.
Athletic clubs have been the most hurt by this lack of funding. Sports are expensive to play. Riddell, one the most well-known manufactures in football protective gear, sells shoulder pads for $440, and helmets for $240. Instead of making players pay for all the gear themselves, CHS rents the gear, plus other equipment, to each player for $90. While Carmel can’t afford to financially support every club, they can offer some other services to help ease the burden from club sports.
While I do believe Carmel needs to support its club sports more, it would be unfair to not first mention the support they do give. This school allows club sports to use Carmel logos and names and other benefits.  It would also be unfair to not point out that due to current funding and regulations, including a new sport is not easy. If CHS wanted to add just one sport they would have to hire a coaching staff, purchase equipment, include another equal sport for either women or men (the opposite of which ever was the new sport) and much more. There also needs to be other high schools in the state that play the chosen sport, for competition for CHS.
Many of these club sports have as many, or more participants than school-sponsored sports.
Carmel should take athletics clubs that have a large number of athletes and give them certain perks over regular clubs. These clubs represent a large population of CHS and should be supported as such.
The three practice fields that are used by the football team during its season are left unused in the winter and spring. CHS could easily donate these to fields to a spring club sport, such as rugby or lacrosse. Since club sports do not practice at CHS, just getting to practice can be a large problem for student athletes. Giving the fields to club sports would greatly benefit those sports while providing little cost to Carmel.
After playing a certain time in a varsity sport athletes distinguish themselves from their peers by getting a letter. While most club sports have their own version of lettering, they are not truly lettering. Instead they get a letter from their club sport, but CHS does not recognize it. A three-year varsity hockey player is just as much of an athlete as a three-year football player, and their accomplishments should be treated equally. If Carmel changed its policy to recognize club sports for lettering, it would make club athletics accomplishments more of a part of the CHS community.
Carmel has a large diverse population and an equally diverse group of clubs. While it is impossible for the school to fully support every sport, they could offer some low cost support. Little things like the use of CHS facilities or recognition of athletes’ accomplishments would go a long way in easing the burden of club sports.

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