Equity act dampens school spirit

There is no listing in the local telephone directory for them. Nothing in my GPS under “points of interest.” Driving local highways and byways, no signs announcing “dangerous right turn ahead.”

Come on, Tea Party, where are you? I need you. I didn’t get it before. I get it now. Too much government in our lives.

While many of us apparently nodded off a couple years ago, the New Mexico Legislature passed the School Athletics Equity Act. Its purpose is to level the playing field for girls and boys sports. Here’s a bulletin for all boys and girls involved in high school sports:

Life is never level. Life is mostly uphill. And after you get halfway to the top, something comes along and knocks your butt back to the bottom, and you begin climbing again.

Gov. Susana Martinez has called the Legislature together to address redistricting. She makes the valid point legislators have plenty of time on their hands to take up other issues. Here’s one, guv. Have them repeal this ill-advised law.

Please understand. The New Mexico School Athletics Equity Act does not involve public — that is to say, taxpayer — money. Not one bit. Title IX takes care of that by requiring schools to give equal financial treatment to boys and girls sports as well as other activities.

No, what the New Mexico School Athletic Equity Act basically says is your daughter and her softball teammates can’t stand on Main Drag some Saturday morning with signs inviting neighbors into the vacant bank parking lot for a $5 car wash, proceeds earmarked for the team banquet.

It means parents of the soccer boys can’t get together to throw a huge yard sale, proceeds earmarked for purchasing warmup jackets for their kids.

Legend has it that many years ago a prominent Alamogordo attorney was told the golf team on which two of his boys played needed a van to get to tournaments. “What color do you want?” he said. Now every team gets a van?

Listen, fellow New Mexicans. We no longer will permit such individual displays of team pride, of spirited youth energy, of parental generosity to the programs in which their kids participate. Instead, each high school will have one Super Dooper All Inclusive Booster Club to take care of all boys and girls sports.

The law interpretation is that if one team with spirit and enthusiasm works to buy warmup jackets, then the school district must provide warmup jackets to other teams.

The Albuquerque Journal quotes Dorene Kuffer, legal director at the Southwest Women’s Law Center. “I know there are some schools in this state where the football banquet is at Tamaya (Resort) and the volleyball banquet is in someone’s backyard, and that’s just not fair.”

Sorry, Ms. Kuffer. If sponsored with private money, it’s fair.

You will rejoice with me, fellow taxpayer, in the knowledge this level playing field requires just a whole lot of time-wasting data gathering to present to the state on youth athletes and coach salaries. Why not concentrate more on teaching kids to make the right change at the baseball garage sale?

And how does the Super Dooper All Inclusive Booster Club distribute the money to the various teams? One idea floating around is to distribute the funds based on needs and equity. Yeah. Right. How would you like to serve on that committee?

This law is cumbersome, it adds cost to cash-strapped mid-school and high school administrations, it destroys spirit and incentive among individual teams and parents. And you know what? My money says the volleyball kids in the backyard are having just as much fun and are just as proud as those football kids at the resort.

Here’s an idea. Why don’t we let kids be kids?