Over the past few weeks, sign-ups for new baseball and softball teams have been available to students at Lincoln Park, and many students have been questioning how exactly these teams would work.
Health Science Director/Basketball Coach Mr. Bariski said, “We’re looking at maybe next year, to start a club baseball team and a club softball team, all of which is contingent upon the school board approving it,” he began. The idea has been in the works since last year, and many students have expressed excitement for this possibility.
Marcus Cimino, a sophomore Music major from Washington, is one of these students. “Baseball is a sport that can bring a lot of people together,” he enthused. “It’s something fun that everyone can connect to on some level.”
Two other mysteries behind these new teams at Lincoln Park are about the location and coaching staff. Bariski imagined some potential home practice fields could be at Brady’s Run Park, Beaver Community Park, or even in East Liverpool. He also has ideas for coaches, though he would not be one of them.
“When we look for coaches, we look for experts in the field,” he said. “For baseball, we have some people who are interested, and I’d oversee them. But, no, I would not be the coach.”
Baseball and softball aren’t the only sports teams that could become available at Lincoln Park. There has also been some interest in creating a cross country team and a soccer team, though these wouldbe created further along in the future.
Many students are already involved in the few sports Lincoln Park does offer – basketball, girls’ volleyball, golf, and cheerleading. Paige Rupert, a freshman Theatre major from Hermitage, said, “I’ve played softball before, but I’m doing cheerleading currently so I didn’t want to sign up for anything I couldn’t commit to.”
Bariski also described the many expenses that the teams have to raise money for, including equipment, uniforms, officials, transportation, renting fields, and more. “Starting a program is tens of thousands of dollars,” he said. “Athletics at some schools are in the millions. If you have 30 sports, some schools have a 3 or $4 million athletic budget.”
However, Lincoln Park does not budget any money for our sports teams,
and the only fee for students to join is $150 for the WPIAL, or Western Pennsylvania Interscholastic Athletic League. From there, the teams rely on fundraising.
Controversy has always surrounded athletics at an arts school, but Bariski’s stance on the subject is clear: “I think for students to have a choice in what they want to do, no matter how creative they are, is good for high school kids.”
He and many others believe that Lincoln Park should be a place for students who are both athletic and artistic.
“Part of the high school experience is participating in athletics,” he explained. “It teaches you a lot of things, not just about sports. Being a team player, being able to work with people, being able to strive to get better – it helps you in life.”