I’m not one to express my opinion a lot of the time, but quite often, as an editor, I think I should. In fact, many have insisted that I publish my opinion regularly. Recently, with the help of our columnist Grace Lowe, I have appeared on a “hot topics” show where I somewhat interject, nothing too offensive. The fact of the matter is that I’m a “news guy.” In journalism, my type enjoys breaking the next news story, being the first person on scene of some event, etc. We’re not the type to sit around and think about why our opinions matter because in the journalistic sense, they don’t.
Earlier this week, several stories flooded social media from various news outlets revealing that Barren County Schools amended its calendar. Later, Barren County Schools posted the news on their social media as an “official” statement. Reactions from the Facebook community went haywire. Some of the comments posted wouldn’t be appropriate for me to repeat, but some of the most ridiculous include: “Who ever [sic] voted on this needs to be fired…; Looks like the Barren Co [sic] Elite won this over; What really gets me is the last 2 weeks of school are watching movies or coloring; What kind of idiots do we have running our schools?; …it suits them [sic] they [administration] don’t care about students.” The repulsive list goes on and on.
I have seen multiple comments regarding one issue that takes a personal effect on me: graduation at Barren County High School. Not only am I a senior, but I am also the president of the senior class. Lately, that’s been the word around school: “When is graduation? Are we going to graduate on Friday (May 17)? Well, at one point administration had that in mind. In fact, I reported that administration set a tentative graduation date of May 17. This meant we were aiming for the date but by no means were we certain we’d have a ceremony on that day.
The Barren County Board of Education met Monday night to discuss several items, one being amending this year’s school calendar. School was cancelled last week to do a couple things: allow students, staff and the community (or anyone, really) the chance to travel to Rupp Arena to cheer on the Trojanette basketball team in the state tournament and to honor the basketball team. I would have expected nothing more from our school district’s decision-making body.
Several have insisted that students shouldn’t have missed school for a ball game. I agree to an extent. Ball game or education? Sounds like an easy choice. Not exactly. In fact, school was cancelled for a state tournament game that hadn’t happened in over ten years! It is an insult to say that we shouldn’t have missed school because “no one cares about basketball.” To those girls that put their blood, sweat and tears to get to those games, kudos to you. It must be hard work, after all. Putting in early morning and late evening practices to play basketball among other school activities is what these girls did to get a district and regional title along with moving into the second round of the state tournament.
I was at the games both days, along with several other Barren County fans. In fact, “Trojanette Nation,” as it has been called, was there. I’m not a numbers guy, but I can certainly verify that the number of people wearing burgundy and gold outweighed the opposing teams’ fans wearing their school’s colors at the games. To insist that “no one cares about basketball” or the game was a school game and “not the NBA” is to say that these girls’ huge accomplishments were meaningless. Heck, over 1000 tickets were sold from Barren County High School alone. Tickets continued to be sold at Rupp Arena, too. The fan support has always been there, but it certainly stepped its game up this year, just like the Trojanettes. Countless reporters, photographers, etc. from around the state commented on the number of Trojanette fans present at these games last week. I’ll give it to those who insist that the population who wanted to be out did not exceed those who did not want to be out. We have never really seen this kind of fan support for the Trojanette’s, but this year was different. In fact, the girls said that they were proud to see the community support for Trojanette basketball. The community has a repurtation for lacking in their support of girl’s sports. That’s the point. We (fans) came. We saw (success). Although we (Trojanette Nation) did not conquer the state championship, we gave a good fight. Essentially, we had a damn good reason to dismiss classes.
That brings me to my next point. School was not simply cancelled so that people could watch basketball. While there was plenty of evidence to show that enough people had an interest to watch the girls play, I think the cancellation of classes honored the girls. It was huge for the girls to have won both in district and region, let alone play two games in the state tournament. We played in the state tournament 12 years ago. Over a decade of regular school days for two days in one school year is supposedly bad? Really?
I’ve never played on a sports team, but I know what it’s like to be faced with a challenge. It’s nice to have people supporting you. This is what we did as a community. All the time spent away from school was for the girls, not to “vacation” or “take off work.” These are some of the things that I have read among the Facebook community regarding the amended calendar.
Yes, this tournament has caused a lot of upset in the schedule. We had to set a graduation date to a Monday; have had to skip a free day before spring break; and have had to tag on a school day at the end of the school year. That’s unfortunate, but we must remember what it was about. I feel like the girls deserved to be honored, along with any other group that performs successfully.
As a student and senior, I would like to thank those on the Barren County School Board. I want to thank the community for its support of the Trojanettes. When you’re in class everyday with these athletes, you see the enthusiasm that a single game brings them. As a student, I have seen the excitement across the student body (some that aren’t even athletic fans) for those girls. Among the community, students, staff, etc. was an excitement for the team. This was a rare thing to see for everyone. With that, I can get over the fact that I will graduate one day later (we weren’t graduating on Saturday either way if you were wondering). All of these minute “sufferings” are going to be well worth it when I look back and remember that I was able to attend the state tournament and watch my friends and classmates perform well while an entire side of Rupp Arena was painted in burgundy and gold.
I can only hope you would do the same.