I was reading this post by Sheryl over at the ever-insightful and funny Paper Napkin and it made me think of a story that was in the Chicago Tribune this weekend. Apparently, the father of a high school student was peeved that his daughter wasn't good enough to make the volleyball team. He says the school should either have a no-cut policy and let everyone on the team who wants to play or they should provide intra-mural teams. Sheryl's post talked about books being "banned" from libraries and she points out that just because a book is not available at your public library doesn't mean you can't get it through other sources.
See the theme here? Just because you want something, doesn't mean it should be free to you. The "public" (read - taxpayers like me) shouldn't have to fund this one girl's desire to play volleyball and check Judy Blume books out from the school library. (Note: I read all the Judy Blume books and think they're wonderful but if a particular school district decides that those books aren't appropriate for their school library, those interested in reading them can buy them or borrow them.)
Clearly, certain people think that the "public" should support the things in which they want to participate. There are people who think the public library should stock books they like - even if, as Sheryl points out, a group of purportedly rational adults has decided that they don't wish to provide those books. It doesn't mean those books aren't available on Amazon.com or from your neighbor or another library. Similarly, there's nothing stopping the girl who likes volleyball from trying to drum up enough interest to start a volleyball club after school. If there is enough interest, they might find a teacher or coach willing to work with them. If her father really wants to provide her with an opportunity to play volleyball or any other sport, he can enroll her in classes outside of school or hire a coach to work with her until she's good enough to make the team.
Before you assert that I'm against the first amendment because I support the banning of books, read Sheryl's post. I agree with her point - the fact that the public library in your town doesn't carry a particular book doesn't mean it's been banned. If the government burned all the available copies of a book and jailed anyone who sold or read it, THAT would be banning a book. And THAT would be a violation of the 1st amendment (among other amendments, laws, rules, regulations and just plain old human decency).
And although I think all kids should participate in sports, I don't think that all kids should be allowed to be on the team of their choice regardless of their level of ability. Just because I want more than anything to be a Rockette doesn't mean the Rockettes will allow my jiggly butt to dance across their pretty stage. That's life. We don't all get to do what we want to do. We only do our kids a disservice if we pretend otherwise. Again - I'm not saying this girl should give up her dream of playing beach volleyball with Kerri Walsh. I'm only suggesting that her local high school doesn't have to fund her attempt to get better at the game.