Speak Out: How important do you think sports are to urban youth?

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Recently there was a shooting after a midget football league game in Homewood that ignited controversy over the importance and safety in sports in urban areas. So we asked Pittsburghers their thoughts on the importance of sports to urban youth. Here’s what you said:

speakout

“I think that sports are very important, but that education is more important. We try to teach our kids not to chase a ball into the street. Instead we teach them to chase it on the court. The youth need activities to stay active but education should definitely come first.”
Ronald J. Williams
Penn Hills
Retired

“I think that sports can play an important role for urban youth. Some think that it’s their only avenue to fame and fortune. If you pull it away they will believe they have nothing else to do. It is important because it helps to keep them motivated at times.”
Mona Morphis
East Liberty
Teacher

“Sports are very important to urban youth. For many it’s a way to stay out of trouble. It gives them a sense of community and belonging. For others it’s a way of nurturing their talent for sports. It also gets the community involved.”
Chrisala Brown
Highland Park
Artistic director

“They are very important because they preoccupy and discipline them. It gives them something to do with their time and it keeps them out of trouble.”
Henry C. Gaston
Homewood
Material handler

“I think that sports are important to urban youth because it helps them to channel their energy and focus on other things than what is happening in the streets. There are so many youth who would get lost without sports. It gives them structure that they are often lacking at home.”
Celeste Houston
Hill District
Tax preparer

“I think sports are very important because of my experience as a college athlete. It gives many a chance to excel and get out of places we were born but are not desirable to our taste. It’s a way of positivity. It also gives opportunities to bond with people from different areas. Sports create positive role models.”
Jay Brown
Homewood
Night club manager

(Compiled by Erin Perry. Photos by Erin Perry. )

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