By Larry Mahoney - If the Palesky tax cap passes next month, athletics will be irreparably damaged. Athletics, as we know them, will be nothing more than a distant memory. That's in addition to the devastation that will be suffered by the educational systems, police and fire departments, and other services.
I am hard-pressed to find anything positive. I suppose Friday nights will be much saner on the sports desk. Instead of having phones ringing off the hook, there would be peace and tranquility.
Rather than having to track down coaches, especially high school football coaches who are tardy calling in their games, we won't have to deal with it. We won't have to wake their wives up at 10:30 asking when they expect their husbands to return home with the pertinent information about their games.
The regional basketball tournaments will probably be ditched. But that's not a positive. That's a huge negative. It's one of the best times of the year. Whole communities converge on Bangor to watch their schools play.
If the Palesky tax cap passes, football will probably take the biggest hit among athletic programs. It would have to. Football is the most expensive of all the high school sports. Maybe they could switch to flag football or two-hand touch.
How in the world can you justify obliterating your education budget and leaving your sports programs intact?
I love athletics as much as anyone and there's a lot to be said for the life lessons they teach. Things like teamwork, dealing with adversity, sportsmanship, maximizing your potential, developing a work ethic, discipline, how to form lifelong friendships, etc.
But education is the foundation of the future. It is the building block of our society. Sports will, understandably, take a more extensive hit than education. Sports aren't for everyone. Education is.
We live a charmed life in Maine. We don't have the problems associated with inner-city life and if the Palesky tax cap passes, we will get a dose of reality. After all, these high school athletes won't have anywhere to go after school now. Many won't have anything to do. They won't be devoting more time to their studies because how can a skeleton crew of teachers with 40 students in a class pile on work, grade it, and then prepare high-quality lesson plans?
I suppose the students could get jobs, but there are only so many of those available.
Maybe they'll play video games.
Maybe they'll form street gangs.
Maybe they'll just hang out.
I'm sure the crime rate will go up. It has to.
They've got to do something.
Break into a house? Rob a convenience store? Drag race down Main Street?
The police are going to be busy.
Oops, I forgot. Police forces will be depleted by the Palesky-induced budget cuts.
Maybe they'll just have to let some of the so-called minor crimes wait. Permanently.
Tax reform is certainly necessary in the state. But not with the Palesky tax cap. I would much rather try to track down a tardy high school football coach on Friday night.
Larry Mahoney can be reached at 990-8231, 1-800-310-8600 or by email at email@example.com.
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