Let’s take a tour of Kettering, Ohio. A fairly big city surrounded by other cities including Centerville, Oakwood, Dayton, Moraine, Beavercreek, Riverside, and West Carrollton. Home of the Kettering Medical Center and Reynolds and Reynolds, there are some big employers in this city. Kettering is also home of the original Books and Company over in the Town and Country Center.
I have some found memories of this city. While I never went to school there, my doctor was located there and my mom actually worked in the hospital nearly for ten years. They have an amazing fireworks show every 4th of July, as well as some nice parks and “Frankenstein’s Castle” (if you are interested in landmarks like that.) I also remember a time when the Town and Country Shopping Center was full of life, but that’s another story for another time.
Serving as the public high school of the city is Kettering Fairmont, a school located in Division I in the GWOC with Wayne High School. The Firebirds play in a tough Region for football (in the top ten are seven Cincinnati teams.) What used to be two schools (Fairmont East and Fairmont West) with a combined mascot (“Fire” from the Fairmont West Dragons and “birds” from the flight of the Falcons at Fairmont East), there is no shortage of great athletes from this school district. If an upcoming levy doesn’t pass however, we might not see any athletes from Fairmont for awhile.
According to a Dayton Daily News article, all extra-curricular activities are gone if the voters don’t pass the next levy. No band, no sports, no anything.
This is a shame and I’ll list a few reasons why it is to the city and the school district.
Number One: this is the only public high school in the city. Granted you do have Kettering Archbishop Alter, which is a private school in the Greater Catholic League/Girls Greater Cincinnati League. Taking away Fairmont’s teams will leave the GWOC one team short of eighteen and an uneven Central Division. You leave a beautiful arena sit nearly empty (more on this in reason two), you leave a good portion of the city without sports and you see families moving out to get their prized athletes back playing somewhere else.
Number Two: The Arena. I mentioned previously about the arena. There is an arena on the campus of Fairmont High School, called the James S. Trent Arena. Seating around 4,400 and near the corner of Lincoln Park and Shroyer, the Trent Arena was opened in 2005. Not only do the Firebirds play basketball and have wrestling meets in the arena, but it’s also used for banquets, concerns, and graduations. It rivals nearby (by nearby, I mean across the street) Fraze Pavilion. Finished in 2005 and built by 1989 Fairmont grad Mike Ruetschle, the Trent Arena is the definition of a beautiful home advantage. If the Firebirds are wiped off the map, what is Trent Arena going to do about money? Can it really be supported on only concerts?
Number Three: The athletes and alums themselves. On Wright State’s men soccer team, there happens to be a few Fairmont products on the field. There is some good history in Fairmont athletics as well with a long list of Hall of Fame members. Most students (most, NOT all) use sports as a social connection. Also, many athletes go to colleges on scholarships, saving some money and the chance to keep playing a sport they love.
Before you ask me if I’m for or against the issue, I’m neutral. I understand there’s not many options out there and the economy isn’t what it used to be. I also understand people don’t want to pay additional taxes. I’m not arguing wherever the levy is needed or not. I’m just trying to explaining that Firebird sports have their place in the city. It would be a shame if Kettering lost the Firebirds. We won’t know what will happen until that voting day.