The teacher’s strike that has placed the state of Oklahoma into a vice grip moves on unabated. The trick is that even while most of the state’s school districts remain closed, there is one thing that’s continuing in most places: the sports games those very schools are supposed to be playing.
As reported by the Oklahoman, even though the state’s teaching force remains united in holding out for better wages and school funding, the teachers who double as coaches of sports teams have also all continued to work with their teams, essentially donating their time and labor so their student athletes can continue to compete in what for many will be their final high school campaigns.
That includes games in the Tulsa area, where Owasso and Shawnee faced off in an critical district baseball game on Tuesday evening, the second-straight day the schools faced off in a home-and-home series.
The justification for why sports are continuing throughout the strike is actually the same as the motivation for the strike itself: It’s all about the students.
“They have worked hard and earned these moments,” Milwood athletic director Shannon Hayes told the Oklahoman. “We don’t want them looking back, especially seniors, and saying, ‘yeah, I didn’t play my senior year because our teachers walked out.’”
So, instead of walking away, coaches are shuttling from the state capitol back to campuses to oversee practices and games. And they’re doing it all despite a strike-inspired shortage of
While having their coaches picketing at the state capitol building is a significant distraction from each team’s stated goals, it appears that the student athletes themselves certainly understand and support what they’re doing:
“We get why our teachers are over there,” (Harding Charter Prep baseball player Jaxon) Casteel said, motioning to the Capitol dome as more helicopters buzzed overhead. “Things aren’t great; they are trying to fix it.”