Posts Tagged ‘blog1’

Sport participation should be a “Right” for everyone

Monday, October 28th, 2013

It turns out that advancing equal opportunity and economic empowerment is both morally right and good economics, because discrimination, poverty and ignorance restrict growth, while investments in education, infrastructure and scientific and technological research increase it, creating more good jobs and new wealth for all of us.
William J. Clinton

I used Clinton’s quote to point out the importance and meaning of equal opportunities to the society.  In this case we have definitely a situation of inequality for Sondra and her children because of their economic hardship. In my opinion “sport participation” needs to be a right for every human being and not just a privilege. The numerous benefits of sport participation indicate how important sport is for the improvement of the human’s physical and psychological level. Especially for children sport helps to prevent for obesity and improves the overall quality of life. Furthermore sport participation creates a social capital, a greater sense of belonging and increased bonds (Pedersen, Parks, Quarterman & Thibault, p.194). The American Academy of Pediatrics says that “every child and adolescent should have an opportunity to participate in sports and regular physical activity.” (http://www.livestrong.com/article/213081-sports-programs-for-low-income-families/).

The ethical issue

In this certain case, the recreation center’s director’s decision, not letting Sandra’s children participate without paying the fee of $125, would probably not improve the children’s psychological and physical level. Through this decision the children basically are cut out of a certain social environment and do not have the chance of getting involved in a team sport. The decision of the director involves a choice between the good alternative, to let the children participate without paying the fee, and the bad alternative, not letting them play because their mother cannot effort the fee of $125. Furthermore through the fact that the sport participation of children is not written down as a right, this issue is more about what is efficient than what is legal. The recreation center director seems to be more interested in making profit than to care about the well-being of the children. His choice to insist on the money suggests that his decision is based on the most efficient option, which helps him financially.

Creative options and alternatives

As the director, we have to make sure that the well-being of the children is the priority, because we know the importance of sport participation for children.  Therefore it has to be our goal that we will find a way/solution of letting these two children participate in the baseball league rather than too insist on the $125. The equally accessibility to sport is one relevant key to a well-working community. This means to give low-income families the same opportunities to participate in sports than any other families. This decision process needs a more social thinking than a capitalistic and financial thinking. The most important aspect here is to find creative options and alternatives so the children can participate in the baseball league or in another sport. The first alternative is to ask if it would be possible to let the children participate in a different sport, maybe certain sports require a lower fee or no fees need to be paid. Another option would be to ask certain organizations like the “National Alliance of Youth Sports”, which promotes honesty, fairness and equality on their homepage (www.nays.org) or the “Little League Baseball and Softball”, for any special funding for low-income families. Moreover we should have a look at Harford’s recreation centers in Connecticut (p.197). For example, “children in Hartford are eligible for free, eight-week summer camps at one of the city’s parks. In most cases children can participate in any structured program offered at the city’s recreation center at no cost”, (Pedersen, Parks, Quarterman & Thibault, p.197). Hartford’s model shows that the city offers sports and activities to all their residents. It is important for them that everyone has equally accessibility to sportive activities. Furthermore a different option would be to subsidize these recreation programs for residents who have a much lower average socioeconomic status and increase maybe the local tax dollars and user fees for high income families. In this way we could use the created extra money to finance the participation of lower income families (This is a socialist thought. I see certain socialist decisions like in Germany more critical than positive. Too much socialism creates people who think they don’t have to work anymore because they get payments from the government. Especially the middle class has to work harder to subsidize certain people’s lives or lifestyles, but this is a whole different discussion).

Which option works the best?

We have to evaluate the above listed options or alternatives to analyze which option is the most effective and efficient one. The option of asking certain organizations for funds to finance the participation of low-income families would probably produce the most good and do the least harm, because we are not increasing local tax dollars or user fees (utilitarian approach, p.22).  The option of using Hartford’s model would probably lead to increase local tax dollars and user fees in order to finance the participation of lower income families. This option would best serves the community as a whole, not just some member, because we are creating these extra income channels to give these families an equal opportunity to participate in community sports (the common good approach, p22).

We have to make a decision

In my opinion we should focus on finding an organization or charity that helps financially children to participate in athletics. This option is probably the most efficient and effective one. “Athletics for kids” is a Canadian charity, funded and sponsored by certain organizations and contributors. Their mission statement is, “by providing funding assistance, we ensure all British Columbia children, regardless of their socioeconomic status, have access to youth amateur sport” (http://www.a4k.ca/). A charity like this one would help Sondra to let her children participate in the baseball league. I have not found a similar organization/charity/foundation in the U.S., but I’m sure that communities have organization/charities/foundation that are helping to finance the participation of children in sports.

How effective and efficient is our decision?

With this decision to contact an organization/charity, which helps lower income families, we are not pressuring other families to pay higher local tax dollars and to pay higher user fees.  Through that we are taking care to the concern of all stakeholders. In my opinion a good director, especially for a recreation center, which concentrates on the community’s well-being, should always think of solutions to solve different problems. In my opinion there is usually a solution to every problem. A strong will to help these children to participate in sports will create a solution to help this family. My decision will probably turn out well, because I am confident that I will find an organization/charity that will help financially this family. Through that the children can participate in the baseball league and can experience the positive aspects of a team sport.