SPORTS

Bus issue another failure in Warwick

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 guess I will start my column off this week with continuing on last week’s topic, which was the way that the Warwick School Committee continues to fail its student-athletes.

Since last week, I learned that one of the items on the agenda was budget cuts, and one of the proposed cuts would be the school’s buses for athletic events. As of now, the cuts have not been made and it appears that buses will be available for the remainder of the spring season, but this is just another case of the school committee not caring about its athletes.

I mean, come on, is it really that difficult to offer kids a ride to the event? All kids need is equipment, uniforms, space and a way to get there. The rest will take care of itself.

Not all kids are old enough to drive themselves, even the kids that are, not all of them have licenses of vehicles. Many parents are not available in the afternoon immediately after school, some families can’t afford cars and rely solely on public transportation. It’s pretty obvious how important buses are for these athletes and the fact that they are on the chopping block is ridiculous.

There have already been issues with buses this spring season as well. Whether buses are not available, running behind, what have you, it is an ongoing issue. I have heard different officials say that it is a statewide problem, which perhaps it is, but I don’t see every surrounding town and city suggesting we eliminate buses altogether.

It really is silly when you think about it. We have officially hit the point where the simplest items are being taken off the table. When have you ever heard of some of these issues? The city has mismanaged the budget so drastically over the past few years that it is now being forced to take measures that are absurd.

These topics are just so frustrating to have to keep an eye on. I feel sorry for the kids that are constantly being pushed and pulled. A few years ago, sports were almost taken away entirely and ever since, kids are being threatened with this and that, and the latest item is transportation. It never ends.

And you know what is a shame? Another subject that bores me to death is hearing people in the city talk about how private schools such as Bishop Hendricken and La Salle pry its kids away and how these transfers harm their numbers. Well, when seeing these shenanigans happen time after time, how can you blame families and kids for wanting to go elsewhere? Especially those families that can afford the tuition at these schools.

I know that the issue that people have regards the recruitment and whatnot, but regardless, kids are seeking to enroll in private schools more than ever because of what they have to offer. I am rooting for the public schools, absolutely, but it’s hard for me to not look at the school committee with a critical eye and point the finger for these issues. Kids and families are going to leave as the issues mount.

So, after two weeks of whining, I will finish with this plea to the Warwick School Committee:

Please keep sports and athletics off the table. When looking at some of the other proposed cuts, sports should be at the bottom of the list … the most protected. I know that there is a budget that can’t be exceeded, but that is no longer an acceptable excuse considering it is your own doing. It’s been managed so poorly for so long that you are now backed in a corner, but please, do not claw your way out by messing with athletics.

On a positive note, Cranston native Damian Rivera scored his first goal for the New England Revolution in his first MLS start over the weekend. What a cool story.

Rivera was signed to the Revolution II team, which is a developmental team under the big club. Rivera was a big time club player in Rhode Island as a youth and worked his way onto the Revolution’s radar back in 2019 when he was signed.

You hear me say this all the time, but the beauty of high school sports is being able to see future pros compete while it is still convenient. Sure, it is impossible to predict who will and won’t be heading to the next level, but if you have time in your schedule to catch the occasional game, you should absolutely do it. Even if it is just reading the paper and following the local studs in your area, it is always cool to see when it happens.

Rivera is also another athlete to break through from Rhode Island. Kwity Paye was the last one when he was drafted by the Indianapolis Colts last year, so it is great to see another local reach the professional level. Rhode Island is showing its worth now more than ever which is fun to see.

The last thing I want to touch on is the New England Patriots’ draft.

What was the deal with Cole Strange being drafted 29th overall? Why? I don’t remember the last time that a draft pick genuinely upset me. In fact, this may have been the first time ever.

Strange was widely regarded as a mid-round talent. The Patriots selected him in the first while they had a pick in the second round, too.

I get it, the Patriots had their reasons and it’s easy for a non-scout like me to criticize the pick. However, it is no secret that it was a reach at a position that is historically available late in the draft. There will likely be a few late-round guards that make an impact this year.

The rest of the draft was fine, they grabbed a speedy receiver, a couple cornerbacks, running backs, it was fine. That first pick though … what a doozy.

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