Leading off today:
I recognized it for the symbolic gesture it was at the time and knew it was futile at best, but I still supported the schedule reductions that were approved by the New York State Public High School Athletic Association two years ago.
After all, we were plunging into the worst economic climate in three quarters of a century, and it was obvious everyone was going to need to roll up the proverbial sleeves and pitch in to help. So cutting into the high school sports schedule seemed appropriate, even if at best it might save $10 million spread across nearly 800 school districts and private schools.
Well, 20 lashes with a wet noodle for me.
Town and county tax bills are still climbing. School taxes are still climbing. The band of thieves in Albany otherwise known as the governor, senate and assembly raised taxes and fees at every turn. They apparently never got the message about sharing the pain. A good number of them are currently under indictment or investigation for various shenanigans. Several literally belong in prison, manufacturing the new license plates they tried to make us purchase in yet another money grab.
They're shameless and useless, with plenty of spinelessness thrown in for good measure. They're incapable of passing a sensible budget. Sure, there have been some layoffs and even a reduction or elimination of some services and programs, including the Empire State Games. And the state budget has still grown sharply because they don't want to make the tough decisions.
We're still paying more and kids are still playing less.
And it's going to stay that way through at least June of 2012 after Tuesday's nearly unanimous vote to extend the schedule reductions.
It provides cover for superintendents and school boards, letting them make very small slices into the expense side of the budget without having to justify it to voters. And that's the aspect I despise the most, as I explained on a local radio talk show yesterday.
Two years ago, I attended a school board meeting in my town because I'd heard the AD was being forced out of his job. Before that topic came up for discussion, there was a parade of students, parents and teachers to the microphone begging the board to save music classes that were on the chopping block in the upcoming budget.
There must have been at least 25 people pleading their case at that meeting alone, and God only knows how many others spoke at prior or subsequent board meetings.
By the end of the process, most if not all of the classes were restored to the budget.
There was no such deluge and reprieve for sports for the simple reason that there was no local discretion involved. The matter of scaling back schedules was settled by a few dozen people at the state level. Don't even try calling those voters "representatives" because you and I and thousands of affected athletes across the state weren't genuinely represented in that vote.
A year from now, NYSPHSAA officials will reconvene to vote on whether the schedule reductions will remain in place for the 2012-13 school year.
I'm imploring the people in charge to stand up and say enough is enough and let's go back to 20-game basketball seasons and 24-game baseball seasons.
And if they can't bring themselves to do that much, then at least pass a motion supporting local choice. Let us decide at the sectional or league level. If the 1 sections can fomulate their own rules on transfers and the classification of private schools then they can certainly handle the responsibility of scheduling.
Will that make a difference? Probably not entirely, but you just know that some leagues would do away with the reductions. And that would be a start.
Fisher reaches 500: Numerous past players were on hand Tuesday in Davenport as 70-year-old Lee Fisher posted his 500th boys basketball victory.
Davenport beat Worcester 52-28 in OT behind 27 points from junior Robert Meyerhoff in the first round of the Lee Fisher Tournament. The losing coach was Jim Kenyon, a