The Board of Education Monday night backed Superintendent of Schools Michael Testani’s decision to cancel the high school basketball season, citing the public health emergency.
Member Chris Taylor who opposes the cancellation made a motion for a vote on the matter, but no one seconded.
Former school board member John Bagley, a basketball icon out of Harding, shared his thoughts on the decision in advance of Monday’s meeting:
Chairman Weldon and members of the Bridgeport Board of Education:
My name is John E. Bagley and I am a lifelong resident of the City of Bridgeport, and a graduate of our public school system.
I wish to speak to you this evening, not only as an alumnus of Harding High School who spent eleven (11) seasons playing in the National Basketball Association, but as a former member of the Bridgeport Board of Education, who appreciates the volunteer hours you all contribute on behalf of Bridgeport’s public school children.
And it is as a former member of this Board, and as a proud Bridgeport resident, that I respectfully ask you to reconsider the decision to cancel the high school basketball season at Bridgeport’s three (3) high schools.
Although I was a professional athlete, I do not mean to suggest that athletics is more important than providing this generation of Bridgeport’s public school students with the knowledge and academic skills which they must have in order to contribute as a productive citizens in a free republic.
However, the importance of high school sports should not be minimized and we must all realize that education is also about history and tradition.
In Bridgeport, high school basketball is a tradition, and an important part of our City’s history.
Basketball has a special place in Bridgeport’s history and all of us must acknowledge and honor that history.
Don’t let that history and tradition perish because we lack the will to preserve them.
The lesson these student athletes will learn competing in sports will endure, because the discipline, hard work and pride demanded by generations of coaches and administrators cannot be measured in wins and losses.
Times are tough and I know that you, as a Board, are faced with hard decisions
Please find the resources to give our student athletes, that which others sitting where you now sit, provided to me and other student athletes.