by Corbin Smith
For many high school students, sports are an integral part of their lives. Some students even rely on them to pay for their college, so performing to the best of their abilities is the only option if they want to pursue a higher education. However, aspiring collegiate athletes can’t expect to play well if their equipment is less than suitable at the high school level.
Northeast High School’s football and track facilities have experienced issues with vandalism, and coach Roger Franks is fed up with how some members of the Northeast community disregard the high school’s property.
“All I can say is that the community can be more involved and help me,” Franks said about taking care of the field. “We have to find ways to keep people from vandalizing the field. Every time someone vandalizes the field, it hurts kids being able to participate in interscholastic sports.”
Franks said repairs are needed to fix the fence after it collapsed from people climbing over it. Additionally, the equipment shed’s windows have been broken and its outer walls have been painted with graffiti. This isn’t the first instance in which an athletic facility in the Northeast community has had run-ins with vandalism.
Missouri Wolverines Youth Football Director of Athletics Jim Tuso shared security videos from his facility at Heim Electric Park of people driving on the field and leaving large divots. Tuso was concerned because this made the field difficult to run on as athletes risked injuries each time they stepped on the field.
Although the two facilities are less than likely to share the same perpetrators, their stories share similar narratives: vandals don’t care for their actions’ impact on their community.
Franks and Tuso would like to find a resolution to the issue, and it might sound simpler than going to an administrative board, but the idea hardly elicits strong support. The solution should be found in community accountability where power falls into the hands of those who reside in the Historic Northeast.
Since the fields are open to the public, it’s difficult to keep people from vandalizing the property. Neighbors have to be more vigilant in policing what happens at these public venues.
Coach Franks has caught more adults than students committing destructive acts to the field. This shows that the issue is less of the school’s responsibility but more of the community’s to fix.
The community needs to realize that these acts of vandalism are causing issues to individuals who are trying to improve themselves. Selfish and irresponsible behavior is a bit childish to be exhibited by adults. As children, everybody was taught the Golden Rule to “do to others what you wish to be done to you.” It’s hard to imagine that adults would want their property trampled and trashed, right?
Consider this a call for community unification. The Historic Northeast should want to preserve itself and it can’t do that without its members deciding to take action. Consider the consequences of your actions and who it affects. The future generation shouldn’t have to suffer at the hands of vandals’ entertainment.