My Turn: Something had to be said

Posted: Tuesday, January 04, 2005

As president of the Juneau Youth Football League (which handles all the football and cheer programs from age 8 to high school).

I have wanted to respond to Charles Bingham's column in the Dec. 24 sports section for the past few days but as my parents always said, "If you cannot say anything nice don't say anything at all." Well last night I thought of what's nice to say and I thought of it as I sat in a crowded gym in Juneau watching the girls and boys games during the Capital City Classic.

Juneau's fans are nice: I have traveled around this state for football games and if I happen to be in Anchorage I always make it a point to watch whatever Juneau team was traveling up to play whatever sport it was. This is not the case for parents and spectators in Anchorage. During games in Juneau - packed bleachers. During games in Anchorage - A LOT of empty seats.

This holds true for most of the sports: football, volleyball, swimming and diving, soccer, track and field, wrestling (I've been there and seen it for myself). During our state quarterfinal football game with East Anchorage this October (a repeat of last year's state championship game) I counted less than 500 in attendance and that included the pep band. All the spectators have to do is get in a car or on a bus to come cheer their team on but sadly it does not happen. Juneau supports our activities. WAY TO GO JUNEAU FANS - YOUR SUPPORT (AND ATTENDANCE) IS APPRECIATED.

Juneau's students are nice: In order to participate in any activity (whether it's sports, arts, or music) Juneau's students have the dogged determination it takes to make it happen. The fund-raising requirements are not fun but when you are a competitor for Juneau you have shown that you are already a winner. This fall I was reading the West High School Football Booster newsletter which talked about the overwhelming success their fund-raiser was - they raised $2,000 and one player raised the most ($500). Sad to say that player would not even qualify to suit up as a Crimson Bear football player. He would not have shown the determination that is required to be a Crimson Bear. WAY TO GO JDHS STUDENTS - YOU ARE ALL WINNERS.

JDHS's administrators are nice: Without the support of the JDHS administration JYFL and the Crimson Bears football team would not be as successful as we have been. JYFL is committed to the student athlete and the administration of JDHS has helped us with that committment. After school activities (sports, academic, or fine arts) help kids graduate. WAY TO GO JDHS ADMINISTRATION - YOUR SUPPORT OF ACTIVITIES IS APPRECIATED.

Juneau's businesses are nice: Every body in every activity is fund-raising. The sport or activity may change from month to month but the fund-raising goes on year round and the response from the businesses and organizations that support these activities is awesome. I'm sure every business is "hit up" at least weekly for one thing or another and they are most generous. The dreams and hard work of these kids would not be possible without you. WAY TO GO JUNEAU BUSINESSES - YOUR SUPPORT MAKES DREAMS COME TRUE.

I agree with Charles, ASAA needs to look for some sort of equity (or at least a degree of cooperation) for ALL Alaska schools, not just Anchorage schools when it comes to scheduling games and activities. They need to remember why they were established: To direct, develop and support Alaska's high school interscholastic sports, academic. and fine arts activities. It is time to support Alaska high schools. Juneau is nice - it supports ours.

• Karen Lawfer is president of the Juneau Youth Football League.

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