by Ari Temkin
Basketball was invented to give participants at the YMCA an indoor winter alternative to outdoor sports. Football, likewise, was popularized by prep schools in New England.
No matter their origins, the genesis of all of our favorite sports is all rooted in amateurism and camaraderie. The growth and subsequent expanded commercialism have reduced the initial ethos and intentions of athletics. However, that growth relative to its skyrocketing popularity was inevitable.
As widespread as the commercialism of sports has become, the initial ethos of instilling life lessons and harboring an environment of camaraderie and teamwork have persisted.
This commercialism and growth is rooted in every level of sport, from professionals down to high school athletics. Allen High School in Allen, Texas, a suburb of Dallas, invested $60 million into a brand new football complex in 2012.
The High School at Castle Hills First Baptist Church has seen its population double in the last four years. Not coincidentally, the school, based on an initiative from the former headmaster, established a football program that same year. Eighty-eight total students is not enough to field a traditional eleven man football team, but the program, which took root in 2009, participates in the Texas Association of Private and Parochial Schools (TAPPS) six-man football.
Castle Hills head football coach and athletic director James Criner, who joined the school as a bible teacher, said one of the catalysts behind some of the school’s enrollment attrition was the lack of a football program. “There’s just something about having a high school football program,” Criner said. “It builds school spirit and pride in the community. There’s just something attractive about it.”
Read more in the March 2014 issue of S.A. Scene.