On Monday, a group of determined parents from Valdosta, Georgia, once again battled with the Lowndes County school board in an effort to force curricula change. At issue, Lowndes County’s requirement that all students pass Introduction to Football (Football 100) and Practical Football Skills (Football 101).
First introduced in 1937, the two classes were intended to ensure that every Valdostan understands the basic principles of America’s sport. And history has proven their worth, as Valdosta County perennially ranks highest in the nation in football literacy.
However, in the last decade, some parents have challenged the classes because their otherwise high achieving daughters and sons are having difficulty passing Practical Football Skills. The group, known as Valdostans for Fair Education (VFE) are now threatening to sue. As explained by VFE’s President, Dr. Preet Krishnathes: “my Vishnu was a straight A student, who got fives on 13 AP exams, and scored a 35 on his ACT. However, he failed Introduction to Football the first time he took it and only after we hired a tutor and he dropped two other classes was he able to scrape by with a B-. But no matter how many tutors we hired, Vishnu couldn’t pass Practical Football Skills. He is simply unable to understand modern defensive schemes and he kept dropping punts. As a result, he will not receive a high school diploma. I understand that football is important, but is it really more important than an A+ in Calculus BC? I regret the day we moved to Valdosta—if only we had chosen to live in Moultrie rather than Valdosta, Vishnu would be going to Stanford!”
However, at the Lowndes County School Board meeting the Coach of the Valdosta Wildcats, John Grim, gave an impassioned defense of football literacy as essential to an individual’s ability to participate in modern society. As explained by Grim: “If you don’t understand football what are you going to talk about with your family and co-workers during the Fall? When your boss tells you it’s time to move the ball forward, you’re going to think he’s talking about soccer for God’s sake. And how are you going to root for the Yellow and the Black? Are you really trying to tell me that the average American uses calculus more than they watch football? Your damn right football is more important than Calculus BC! We owe it to the children to make sure they understand what they see on their televisions every Monday, Thursday, Friday, Saturday, and Sunday from August to January. Do any of us want a Valdosta in which no one understands the game? I sure as hell don’t!” After Coach Grim’s cogent rebuttal the Board once again voted to require a passing grade in Football 100 & 101 in order to receive a diploma. There is no word yet on whether VFE will go through with its plans to initiate legal action.