Four former local athletes speak about benefits of Prop. 100
Pima Community College's first Athletic Director Larry Toledo spoke out with four other former athletes at Hi Corbett Field in support of Proposition 100 on Friday.
Toledo was joined by two-time gold medalist swimmer from the 1992 Olympics Crissy Perham, former World Series competitor Pat Darcy, former Tucson High basketball player Delano Price and former University of Arizona baseball player Rudy Castro.
Toledo – who will be inducted into the National Athletic Directors Hall of Fame on June 23 – remembers getting the call to play varsity football as a freshman at Pueblo High School many years ago.
However, he doesn't recall a thing about his first game because he was so nervous.
"My dad worked as a custodian, and my mom was a homemaker," Toledo said. "Coming from that background, athletics is what gave me the chance to be successful."
Toledo's career took him from a financially humble upbringing all the way to National Football League as a quarterback for the San Diego Chargers.
The proposition – a one-cent increase in the state sales tax – would aid public school funding. If the bill does not pass, sports at local schools could be endangered.
Many schools would be forced to either disband athletic teams or leave it in the coaches' hands as to how to get funding for travel costs and possibly have schools raise participation costs.
For some of the districts the "pay-to-play" concept is something that isn't feasible.
"Young people deserve priority," Toledo said. "Prop. 100 is about them and the survival of society as a whole. We need to vote 'yes' on this."
"Being an athlete has taught me the importance of hard work and integrity," said Perham, who was a swimmer at the University of Arizona and won two Olympic golds in the relay and an individual silver.
"The medals and awards are great, but it's really the intrinsic values – the feelings of self-worth and achievement – that I take away from my experience. And I want my kids to have the same opportunities as me."
Darcy, who played for the Cincinnati Reds and Houston Astros, has three children who all play sports.
"The amount of discipline it takes – I mean, these kids lift weights in the morning, have practice and games all day long – it takes so much," Darcy said. "They've learned what it's like to put it on the line and then deal with not winning.
"High school sports are about working hard, having fun and working together – that's what it's all about."
Castro, who was a former Tucson High athlete, Cholla baseball coach and former TUSD principal, supports the new legislation for both his three kids' future and from his own experience.
"The only reason I survived 12th grade is because of sports," he said.
Disclosure: Ann-Eve Pedersen, board president for the Arizona Education Network, also serves on the Board of Directors of Black Mountain Media Inc., which publishes TucsonSentinel.com.