You are driving on I-5, you hear a song that captures your imagination and the song stays with you. 'Be True To Your School' is an old song I heard recently.

Scrolling back three decades reveals an easier time when gas was affordable and phone calls were made not from behind the wheel, but from those archaic glass, rectangular structures. The pay phone always worked and there were no dreaded dead zones.

Other things don't work as well today as they did 30 years ago. My thoughts turned to our two high schools, and the games played by student athletes. The same games are being played for vastly different reasons.

Playing for fun, school pride and camaraderie seem out of date. Those old standards have been replaced by a new agenda comprised of motives such as winning at all costs and financial gain, that are as misdirected as they are self-serving.

At the top of the hit parade is the athletic scholarship, that four-year free pass to a higher education. Many have sacrificed much looking for that pot of gold at the end of the rainbow. When they get there all they find is an empty pot.

When they look back they realize they were so fixated on the goal they forgot to enjoy the journey and all they got out of the athletic experience is disillusionment.

Whatever happened to the day when the quarterback was also the point guard and star shortstop. Is it really necessary to be involved in one sport year round? An obsession with that pot of gold has pushed the three sport athlete to the brink of extinction.

Parental involvement has become parental entitlement. As always, coaches and athletic directors welcome the help of volunteers when it comes to running the snack shack and handling booster club activities.

What they don't need is advice as to how the program should function, what plays to run and which players would best execute those plays. The A.D. and the coaching staff are trained professionals and need to be seen in that light. Criticism and negativity are not building blocks of a successful program.

And now when parents and coaches differ on the issue of playing time, well isn't it nice that there's another school in town. There have been a couple of incidents recently where a student athlete has been moved across town before his senior year, against his wishes, because a parent thought he'd see the ball a little more.

I wonder if these well meaning people give any thought about what they left behind or who their kid may be displacing when practice starts? What message are they sending? When things don't go your way pack up and leave?

Being a new kid in school is as hard now as it ever was and maybe, just maybe there is more to high school than touchdowns and three point shots.

Be true to your school.

The administration is the real culprit here. This open enrollment policy makes it too easy for people to change schools. If parents had to sell their house and move across town, my guess is you'd see a lot less transfers.

Charles Dickens would love this town. It really is a tale of two cities, or two high schools. While one school has begun to resemble the Alamo, the other looks more like a 7-Eleven, just another convenience.

The athletic fortunes of the two schools have changed remarkably. This metamorphosis has taken place largely because parents and administrators have lost sight of what's important.

What was true in 1975 is true today. Athletics are not, nor were they ever, a means to an end; but merely a vital part of a well rounded education and they should be played, administered and supported as such.

Be true to your school?

Some songs never get old.

Steve Holm is a resident of Tualatin.

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