The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

The Student News Site of Marion High School

The Vox Online

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Mr. Robinson brings uses his teaching skills in and out of the classroom to help his students and athletes as well.
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Posters about the new nail art club hang around the school for more students to be informed.
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April 30, 2024

Unequal opportunity

I have had the privilege of playing basketball from a very young age.

     The world is unfair. At least, that is what is told to us every time an inconvenience occurs. We didn’t get the job, didn’t get asked out, didn’t get our favorite flavor of ice cream when our sibling did. We didn’t make the team. There are so many times where we think that we deserve something more than what has been given to us. That there are many events that take place that are just… well, unjust. While our feelings are valid, while most of us in our privileged life think about our own hardships, it would not hurt to stop, take off our shoes, and put on those of the less fortunate. 

      Poverty is, for some reason, a polarizing topic. Not that poverty exists, but more so what one should do about it. You have one group of people (who have most likely never been in that situation) that will tell these individuals to pull themselves up by their bootstraps and just work harder, slapping the face of the single mother who works three jobs in order to put food on the table. You then have another group who at least tries to understand how hard life can be, but most of the time remaining unsuccessful unless they have been in the situation themselves. I have had the privilege of having a roof over my head and food on my table my whole life, so I cannot fully understand. However, I can try my best.

Many people don’t have the opportunity to play with new equipment like others do.

     One part of poverty that is heavily overlooked is the participation in activities. Many children who grow up in a home without extra income still have the same sports dreams that the rest of us do. Playing baseball, volleyball, tennis, or basketball in college and beyond just to name a few. Great! They have the dream. They have the passion to move forward and try their best, only for barricades to be put up on every road because they don’t have enough money. From the get-go, there are fees left and right for sports, especially if someone wants to be even semi-good at one. 

     I started playing basketball at five years old. Right out of the gate, shoes, a ball, a uniform, and a price to get on to the team are necessary costs. When I was eight, I joined a club, or AAU, basketball team, where the cost to join was a pretty penny, not to mention all of the fees for hotels and food necessary to survive. I was in the AAU circuit for almost ten years where I got the opportunity to play in front of numerous colleges. During that time, I was also fortunate to see many shooting and strength and conditioning trainers who shaped me into the player I am today. And guess what? After all that, I am able to say I am committed to playing basketball in college, yet not a single step I took to get to that place would have been possible without lots of extra income.

     The sad truth is that it is very, very close to impossible to be good at a sport without the monetary element. I sit in my church across from a school and see the same kids playing basketball and shooting hoops every single day. They are playing/practicing more than I, or most of the people I know in my same position, do. I don’t know their life, but let’s pretend that they are in the aforementioned situation where they simply don’t have the funds for the life that would take them to play in college. That means that their shooting form would go uncorrected without a trainer, they wouldn’t know what it’s like to be on a team until free middle school basketball, and unfortunately, at that point, they would be so far behind the others, skill-wise, that it would be hard to catch up. 

     We in sports are very fortunate. We have something to put our time and energy into, usually steering most of us away from harmful substances. In addition, the privilege of having our education paid for if one plays in college, in partiality or entirety, is one that is not only overlooked but is one that most kids growing up like that don’t get. 

The solution? For everyone in this world to stop being so selfish with their money and stop trying to make a buck at every turn. All of these large corporations that make it so expensive to join their team need to go out and touch some grass. They need to be brought back down to earth and maybe be part of the solution instead of the problem. There are scholarships for schooling, maybe offering those kids a spot on the team for a discounted rate could be something similar. I may be ignorant and these may already be in place, but I am searching for a time where that aforementioned mother who works three jobs to get by can watch her child playing on the TV.

     The world is hard and uncomfortable and stressful, and yes, unfair. But there are some things that can be done to allow some people even the room to breathe. Even if you, alone, don’t have the ability to change people’s ways, even identifying the luxuries that you possess in your own life can make all the difference.

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Mila Van Weelden
Mila Van Weelden, Newspaper Editor

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