When a school district announces plans to break ground on a $70 million dollar stadium, reactions are as polarizing as a political election.
Some will point with pride to the new stadium, having visions of their son or grandson becoming the next NFL Hall of Famer, while others will lament the fact that the money could be better allotted on improving educational facilities, rewarding staff, or reducing property taxes.
Therein lies the issue. It all depends on your prospective. As a former college baseball player, I'm all about bigger, better sports facilities, but I would suspect that Ms. Smith, who has a honor student in school that wants to major in International Economics and doesn't know a pigskin from a pork rind, could care less.
The bottom line is this. It was put to vote and the citizens of McKinney gave it a thumbs up. If you don't like it, you are either envious or you think it sets a bad precedent. If you believe the latter, you probably have good cause, but you should take your finger out of the dike before the groundswell of bigger, more modern stadiums, overwhelms you.
Is there a "keeping up with the Jones" factor here? No question, especially considering Allen's mega stadium and The Star at the Ford Center in Frisco are both in close proximity to McKinney. But this is Texas, home of America's team and the land of the running back, where we love, love, love our high school football.
There is probably a ceiling on $60-70 million dollar high school football stadiums, with only the largest metro areas being able to justify the cost. It just so happens that Allen, Katy and McKinney have all recently approved such facilities, drawing attention to the state of Texas. Even foreigners, also known as non-Texans, feel it is their right to weigh in on the subject. A message to them; don't tell us Texans how to run our football programs or we'll send Earl Campbell and Bevo to trample all over that patch of brown earth you call a football stadium.
There will be more Texas high school mega stadiums and more races to build the largest video boards on earth, just as there will be outcries that high school football coaches are overpaid. Get used to it, because when communities see our Texas NFL teams and Colleges all sporting shiny new 100,000 seat stadiums, they feel like it's not to much to build a little 12-18,000 seat facility and they're willing to pony up the dough.
Are these stadiums a wise investment? Think of this. Where else can you get a large portion of a community to rally at a meeting place to cheer on their team to beat the brains out of another communities' team and to sit with other parents, teachers and administrators, while sharing a common goal? Bands, spirit groups, cheerleaders, drill teams all benefit from involvement from football. Right or wrong, being involved in sports is probably the best thing many students have going for them. Being involved in sports led me down a far greater path than what I may have otherwise followed.
If you have a problem with so much money being funneled to these super projects I can understand your view, but than again I'm sitting here looking at my framed game worn Emmitt Smith wristbands and preparing to select my fantasy football team.