Rec sports should be based on age and grade

Sunday, December 2, 2018



The last few weeks have been a struggle for my family. As you reported in a front page Ranger Review article recently, my husband pled his case before the city council and rec department to allow our daughter to participate in the Utah Jazz program. Based on your article, in the court of public opinion our case was lost before we even presented it.

Most rec departments or club sports base participation on birthdate, not grade level. If someone failed 4th grade 3 times, would that 13 year old be allowed to play with the 9-10 year olds? Our own rec department uses birthdates to determine eligibility for soccer, so why use grade level for the Utah Jazz program? Siena is 10 years old and wants to play with her peers. Her academic level shouldn’t be a factor in her participation.

Luke volunteer coaches many teams and spends countless hours planning substitution lists and practice drills. He’s passionate about athletics, but more passionate about helping kids develop skills for life like discipline, hard work, teamwork, and commitment. His energy and enthusiasm is infectious, and the kids love being on his team.

A few years back there was an article in the Ranger Review written by a local coach expressing concerns regarding commitment from our high school athletes.

This year only 5 girls tried out for the freshmen basketball team. As a community we need to encourage enthusiasm for sports at the elementary level, in order to foster continued activity later. Glendive currently has no organized basketball for 5th grade. How many kids lose interest in the sport in that year?

Last week an article on the Utah Jazz program was featured in The Ranger Review. It stated the program is a skills development program, Co-Ed, and score is not kept, even referring to the game as ‘practice’. It was not front page news. I question why an article regarding this same program was front page news a few weeks earlier. Regarding that article, on my husband/daughter, I disagreed with the accuracy, sensationalization, and front page placement. Luke asking for Siena to participate was made into a mountain from a molehill. We are being crucified for our efforts to rectify a flawed criteria, and our daughter comes home crying because peers are accusing her of ‘cheating’ in a ‘skills development’ program in games where score is not kept.

Rec sports should be based on age and grade. It should capture the kids right up to when school sports begin. The rec department exists as a resource to help develop our youth. In rearing the next generation, we need to provide opportunities for growth. This is all we were asking for.


Meghann Gambee