Adjust thinking on athletics, travel

The Bulletin reported that the reclassification of high school athletic programs in Oregon is considered “not fair” by some (“All By Themselves,” Oct. 15). But it may also be worth thinking about how to turn it into a positive situation. Sure, a local high school athletic conference with just two schools from Redmond and three from Bend is small. But people love Central Oregon because its open spaces are not overrun by its human inhabitants. We do not negotiate eight-lane freeways. We fight to keep buildings in downtown Bend small. We are not Portland. Or Salem. Or a short drive from either.

My kids are not in high school yet, but by the time they are, I hope that the adults in charge of interscholastic athletics have come to peace with the fact that people move to Bend to be in Bend. There are enough athletic young people in Central Oregon to create all of the fun and competition we need. Many kids, in fact, are driven out of competitive sports before high school because they and their families are averse to the overzealous model of travel and competition promoted by many club sports. When we are prepared to grow where we are planted, we’ll find that our kids can thrive here without repeated sporting pilgrimages to Portland.

Playing local will leave kids time to enjoy the reasons we live here — not to mention time to get their studies and chores done.

Matt Orr

Bend