Budget deficit snatches powerlifting
Staring into the heart of a shortfall of one million dollars in state funding for at least the next two years, the RISD has taken measures to trim the budget and one of the programs to receive the axe was powerlifting.
The Rockdale ISD is also looking towards personnel reductions, and other remedies, to deal with next school year’s budget.
Speaking at the Rockdale Noon Lions Club Jan. 4, Superintendent Dr. Howell Wright noted the RISD cut spending by 10 percent and some of that savings came in personnel.
“We did not replace the choir director, nor are we paying for powerlifting,” he said. “We reduced seven coaching slots. Now, that’s not seven full-time employees.”
The athletic program lost seven coaches last season, six to better jobs and one to retirement, long-time Tiger assistant James Saegert.
RISD Athletic Director Jeff Miller replaced that group with four new coaches, including a new head baseball coach, new head track coach and new defensive coordinator.
Powerlifting was an easy target with its dwindling numbers in participants. It is also not a UIL sanctioned sport, but popular none-the-less, giving football players who only play football something to do and as an outlet to increase their strength in the off-season.
The Rockdale powerlifting program reached its nadir in the mid 2000s when it regularly listed 35 or more athletes on the roster and would regularly send kids to the state tournament, including Trish Schneider and Catelyn Luetge.
The past couple of years, participation has shrunk to the teens, not to mention the cost of gasoline to cart these kids all over the state.
Rockdale even hosted a powerlifting meet in the winter, but hasn’t in several years.
“There has actually been less and less interest in it,” said Miller. “When you do something like this, one of the things that is a consideration is who gets affected the least.”
The program is not completely dead. Miller says that either two or three lifters will continue to participate in the sport, but they will not be funded by the school and that two coaches have volunteered to take the lifters to meets on their own time.
“We have a couple of kids who have done it their whole careers,” Miller said, “so we do not want to deny those who have worked so hard.”
Here is a list of the five strongest men in history: 1. John Holtum—Made a living taking 50-pound cannon balls in the stomach.
2. Siegmond Breitbart—Feats included lifting a baby elephant while climbing a ladder.
3. Eugene Sandow—Father of modern body building.
4. Louis Cyr—Weighing 18 pounds at birth, his show stopper was lifting a horse completely off the ground.
5. Dennis Rogers—At 5-foot-9 and 170 pounds, this modernday Texan and freak of nature can rip phone books in half like tissue paper.