Commentary: Good to see new program

Published 2:51 pm Tuesday, October 5, 2010

In the midst of a national economic downturn, there’s been much news about grade schools cutting athletic programs to save money.

It’s understandable–sports are extracurricular activities, after all–but it’s also discouraging.

Sports teach students important lessons: the importance of teamwork and hard work, how to lose gracefully, how to win graciously, dis-cipline…I could go on and on.

So, it’s encouraging to see at least one school going in the opposite direction. Verbena this season is fielding its first cross country team. The Red Devils have competed in two meets and made significant improvement in between. They have one more regular season meet remaining, on Saturday at Decatur, and then there will be postseason competition.

The team has six members, and that number will likely grow in the coming years. This year’s runners are Allyson Brown, Raymond Bulger, Kelly Dorsett, Celeste Leverette, Coy Lucas and Fred Wright. One of the runners, Dorsett, even competes on Saturdays after playing a crucial role for the Verbena football team on Friday nights.

The sport is perfect for VHS students who don’t participate in another sport—and for those who do but want to stay in shape year round. Running is unique because, as coach Jonathan Shedd has pointed out, it doesn’t necessarily require a high level of athleticism, just a commitment to hard work

Shedd should be commended for starting the team even though the work isn’t as recognized as coaching the football or baseball team (and doesn’t come with the stipend either).

Here’s hoping the program continues to grow in the future.

–Dawkins is the assistant managing editor for The Clanton Advertiser.