Underachievement in Huskie Sports

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By John Hubbuch

Reading this morning's sports pages, I noticed that neither the high school's softball or baseball teams were ranked in the top ten. It has been a while ,I think , since that was the case. Why I remember one halcyon spring in the 1990's when the softball, baseball and volleyball teams were all ranked number one. Now to be sure  rankings, won-loss records and conference and state playoff successes are only one measure of a high school's  athletic program. The level of participation and life lessons learned are no doubt better ones.                                          

I was President of the high school's booster club from 1992-2002 ,and there was always a sense that despite a decent level of performance by the the athletic teams that somehow the program should have achieved more championships and more students should have gotten athletic scholarships.                                                                              

Now various reasons were advanced for this perceived lack of success. One was that the high school was not a "jock" school, and that the teachers and administration were covertly anti-athletics. National Merit success was more important than state championships. Teacher hiring was the turf of academic department chairmen with little or no input from the athletic department .                                                                                      

There was the also the theory that many of Oak Park's parents were hippie-types and were down on competitive athletics. My friend Dave maintained that the DuPage County schools did better in sports than OPRF because they were war-mongering Republicans whose children had the discipline to carry out on the field  orders better than liberal free thinking Oak Park kids who were more likely to question authority. Seemed kind of far-fetched, but interesting.           

My own personal speculation was that although the high school student population was among the largest in the state, a third of that population was black, and significantly disportionate number of those kids did not participate in sports other than basketball and football. OPRF was in this sense more like a 2000 student school than a 3000 one.     

It's all interesting speculation. I'd be interested in what others might think. And yes I know it's not that big of a deal. But then neither is Kate's wedding dress or bouquet.

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