Press Claims to Be Baffled
Here is the first sentence of a report that just appeared on Yahoo News:
MANASSAS PARK, VA — The small city’s one and only high school will forgo a varsity football this year and will play a junior varsity football schedule because less than 20 players were showing up for practices, according to WTOP and Associated Press reports.
The illiterates at Yahoo mean to say fewer that 20 players showed up for practices, and they either left off the “team” after “football” or added a superfluous “a” in front of it, but, at any rate, the bottom line is that the school doesn’t have enough players for a football team. The radio report I heard this morning on the conservative station WMAL said that only 11 players turned out. Manassas Park is very much a blue-collar town, with a lot of relatively inexpensive housing for our region in Northern Virginia. WMAL reminded us that the school used to be a powerhouse in their division, winning the state championship in 2004. Here is their district, region, and state championship record:
District: 1981, 1990, 2002, 2003, 2004, 2005, 2010
Region: 1986, 2003, 2004, 2005
Football is an all-American, tough blue-collar sport, as is wrestling. Check out their impressive championship record there:
District: 1978, 1979, 1981, 1984, 1985, 1988, 1990, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2012, 2013
Region: 1978, 1979, 1980, 1981, 1982, 1983, 1984, 1985, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011, 2012
State: 1979, 1981, 1982, 1984, 1985, 1986, 2004, 2005, 2006, 2008, 2011
Those figures are from https://mparkathletics.com/sports/2021/12/22/manassas-park-championships.aspx
Neither Yahoo, the AP, or WMAL hinted at the real reason for the drastic drop-off in football participation, though. WMAL didn’t even guess at it. Yahoo’s guess is ridiculous, miles wide of the mark: “The decline may be attributed to concerns about injuries and costs of equipment, reports show.”
Perhaps people who can write “less” when “fewer” is called for can be this ignorant, but I doubt it. Going back to the Manassas Park athletics page you get a very good clue as to what is going on. Check out the school’s recent championships in a sport that used to be dominated by the white-collar schools, boys’ soccer:
Region: 2011, 2012
State: 2011, 2012
I am reminded of our local Brookfield Elementary School, not far from Manassas Park, where I have seen the students using their outdoor basketball court as an impromptu soccer field. One can find the explanation for what I have seen at Brookfield in my January 2019 article, “Demographics on the Ground.” The latest statistics available at that time showed that 40% of the students were Hispanic, 23% were Asian/Pacific Islander, and only 20% were White and 12% Black. That is to say, close to two thirds of the students were probably immigrants. The numbers come from the greatschools.org web site. Updating them for Brookfield, we find that it’s now 44% Hispanic, 22% Asian/Pacific Islander, 20% White, and 10% Black. It’s even more Hispanic and immigrant dominated now than it was then.
As we suspected, the immigrant domination of the student body is even more pronounced at Manassas Park High School, and it is even more heavily Hispanic, at 62%. Whites are next at 19%, followed by Blacks at 9%, with only 6% Asian/Pacific Islanders. That really tells the whole story as to why the school can’t put together a football team anymore. The immigrant domination is probably even greater than those numbers imply, because it doesn’t separate out the Blacks who might be native to Africa or Haiti. Some native Africans have done very well in American football, but that would have been despite a complete lack of any experience with the sport in their home countries, and they would be far more inclined to play soccer in high school when they come to this country.
The Yahoo article also mentions that Park View High School in Sterling has also had difficulty fielding a football team in recent years. Sterling is in Loudoun County, to the northwest of Brookfield, which is in Fairfax County. Manassas Park is to our south in Prince William County. Checking the greatschools.org web site, our suspicions—not shared even by the conservative WMAL—are confirmed there, as well. The ethnic breakdown at Park View is 65% Hispanic, 14% White, 13% Asian/Pacific Islander, and just 5% Black.
Something tells me that we are only seeing the beginning of a national trend with these two Northern Virginia high schools. How long will it be, we must wonder, before “football,” as the rest of the world calls it, will be our most popular national sport instead of American football?