By Colleen McNamara
School budget cuts! Everywhere you look there are signs of defeated school budgets. The Hopatcong High School golf team was one of the many programs chopped by the Board of Education.
The Board of Ed voted that the team could not be supported by the budget, but also indicated that it would be allowed to continue as a self-sustained program. This means that parents and players are responsible for raising the funds needed to keep golf as one of our high school's spring sports.
I joined the Hopatcong High School golf team two years ago as a freshman. I did not really understand the game and my skills were raw. Many of my teammates were also inexperienced, but this did not deter [Dominic] Schiavone, our golf coach.
He provided us with the training and expertise needed to become more seasoned golfers. More importantly, he exhibited a passion for the game that had a contagious effect on us all.
We enjoyed the game and the camaraderie that it brought out in us. This directly influenced the growing number of people interested in being a part of our golf program. It saddens me to think that our once promising future might be lost to the current financial woes of our school district.
I understand the need for the Board of Ed to make cuts to the funding of high school sports. However, I would rather it not affect a team that has such bright potential. Most athletics have age-specific limitations. Golf is a lifetime sport that transcends into the business world. How many business deals are made on a golf course?
I also enjoy the level of competition offered by golf. It is acceptable for girls and boys to compete against one another; no other sport traditionally offers this contest. Not only is it a team sport, but it is also a sport that also allows an individual the opportunity to advance based upon his or her personal statistics. Each player is in control of his or her own destiny while contributing to the overall good of the team.
Golfers are also enabled to experience of many different golf courses. For some individuals, this is the only prospect of them playing on some of the nicer courses in our area. We have played at Lake Mohawk Country Club, Panther Valley Country Club and Berkshire Valley Golf Course, just to name a few.
These are courses that I might not have otherwise had the chance to play on.
Farmstead Golf and Country Club is our home course. It is one of the most scenic and well-maintained courses in New Jersey. The management at Farmstead has supported the Hopatcong High School golf team for many years, partly due to the efforts of golf pro Scott Pruden, who is also the parent of a Hopatcong High School golfer.
I hope that this relationship continues for years to come. It would be a shame to have such a generous offer of facilities and services be wasted because we could not financially support our team.
Currently, the golf team is trying to raise money to support the 2011 golf season. Please look for our golf members at various activities in the upcoming months. We also gratefully appreciate all donations to save our team.
Thank you to all who support Hopatcong golf.
Editor's note: Colleen McNamara is a Hopatcong High School junior and golfer. This story is part of a nationwide Patch series probing the economy's effect on local schools. For more on the impact on Hopatcong schools, see here.