Keep school gyms open during summer

Posted Feb. 23, 2009, at 9:30 p.m.

In response to the recent Ron Brown column about his growing list of sports concerns, I just had to offer an alternative perspective. No one is forcing parents or kids to participate in summer sports. For our family, our son and daughter’s offseason AAU and summer basketball league activities were fun. How expensive is it to keep a gym open and hire some referees so kids can keep playing a sport they adore?

As for AAU, during my son’s playing years, it meant some trips to other parts of the state on a few weekends in the spring and fall and the chance to play against different opponents he would not ordinarily have played against. And we took turns car-pooling so no one family had to bear an unnecessary burden.

For my daughter who played in multiple leagues at all age levels because she loved competing, her spring and summer AAU team traveled all over the country. Team members raised money so no one would be left behind. It was a time when she learned to get along with many different kinds of people who were working together to reach their goal. Families who could afford to send a parent along took other girls with them and shared rooms and lots of picnic lunches and in-room cooking to make these trips affordable. As a high schooler, she played in a fall AAU league in Falmouth and had the opportunity to play against and with the best girl basketball talent in the state at that time.

And probably my children’s most favorite summer activity were those evening summer league games at Bangor High School, with a stop at the Broadway Dairy Queen after the game. Just because Ron Brown happens to think summer games are a waste of time and money does not mean that others should feel the same way.

So here is my plea: MPA, please keep the sports programs alive and the gyms open. My children learned many positive life lessons and were in contact with some great role models (referees and coaches). All our activities as a family supporting them in their basketball endeavors — spring, summer, fall and winter — are some of our most treasured memories.

Cathy Marquez

Orono

Note to readers: The BDN reserves the right to edit submissions for libel, taste, clarity, and to fit available space. Letters should include a signature, full name, address, and daytime phone number. Letters may be mailed to: P.O. Box 1329, Bangor, ME 04402, or e-mailed: bdnsports@bangordailynews.net

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