This is not just another typical last month of the school year here in Corner Brook.
This is the end of another era.
School amalgamations are something the city is all too familiar with. In 2006-2007, the two high schools — Herdman and Regina — came together as one. It put a major dent in high school sports in this area.
I wanted to say destroyed, but they still exist in their condensed form today, so I put it more mildly.
In 2014-2015, it will be the junior high schools that are brought together in Corner Brook.
Academically, I think you pretty much go to school where you go to school. It’s not going to make a whole lot of difference. In many cases, it is the same teachers and the same courses. History aside, no big deal. Socially, the students will go to school with more of their friends than ever before. A bonus.
Athletically, however, the amalgamation leaves a big hole that cannot be filled. The competition — in terms of actual schools — has dwindled over the years. Many towns throughout western Newfoundland no longer even field school teams in many sports.
The competition in terms of calibre has dropped significantly.
Most small-town schools can’t compete with the larger one in Corner Brook.
Let’s look at the Grade 7 girls basketball situation this past year. In Corner Brook, there was G.C. Rowe and Presentation junior highs.
The nearest Grade 7 girls basketball team was in central Newfoundland. There wasn’t a team in Pasadena, Deer Lake or Stephenville.
Next year, there will only be one junior high. There still may be two teams, but you would never expect an “A” team to compete with a “B” team, if that is indeed the way things will play out.
So, how is school sports supposed to survive?
Throw in the plan for a reduction of elementary schools to three in the city and the opportunities for our youth to play school sports are shrinking.
I’ve spoke about this issue before. Now, with the end of the school year upon us, it is actually a reality.
Like the Huskies and Knights before it, the Crusaders and Panthers crosstown rivalry is now no more.
It’s a sad time athletically.
Cory Hurley is a reporter/photographer with The Western Star. He can be reached via email at firstname.lastname@example.org.