Once again, chess takes a hit on the sports issue. One of my chaperons for the Ogden scholastic chess tournament was chastised about chess not being a sport or supported by the school. For years we have been traveling to local tournaments in good-standing with school district support. This time, however, I have some girls going so I solicited a woman (teacher) to chaperon the girls squad and one of the administrators suddenly decided that the school "does not support chess as a sport and she would have to take a personal day." This upset my chaperon and I began to ponder. I wonder if BPA, choir, the art club, the environmental club, or the Amnesty International Club (which has teachers, incidentally, in San Diego at a conference financially supported by the school district with guest teachers), encounters these continued battles over their field trips?
Earlier today, a colleague of mine was complimenting me on my dedication to working with chess kids at lunch and after school. I realize his intention, but he continued and said, "How do you find the time? I spend all of my extra time trying to help students do better or finish their senior projects." Does anyone find this sort of an implied negative to what I do for the school? Do I just play chess or games with the kids?
The good news is that I approached the administrator and explained that it is an early out school day (1:30 pm) and we were leaving at 2:00 pm and so there really shouldn't be a problem and no guest teachers would be needed. I immediately was confronted with "the contract day ends at 4 pm." But, I said I already asked the Principal and he said it was o.k.? The "early out day" then came back into the conversation and everything suddenly cleared up. It all seemed to work out the way it needed to but I still think there is a resentment or an anti-chess sentiment in folks that see chess as "just a game." Consequently, I will continue to educate everyone about the value and importance of chess in the lives and education of the kids I serve. But, it does fatigue me.
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