First, Avella football cancels its opening scrimmage at Laurel. Then contacts the WPIAL about canceling the 2008 season. Upon hearing it could mean not playing in 2009, Avella officials opt to continue.
Then comes the news of the Chartiers-Houston girls tennis team, which went 21-1 a year ago and produced the PIAA Class AA doubles champions in Karli Timko and Tanya Timko. With only five plays, C-H is forced to cancel its season and can only compete an independant schedule in 2009.
Granted, Avella and Chartiers-Houston are small schools. Numbers are often a problem in Class A, but teams canceling seasons or coming close before it starts is not common practice.
At Avella, there have been three football coaches in four years. The Eagles haven't made the playoffs since 1976 - the longest such streak in the WPIAL. Apathy toward the program is a culprit for low numbers.
At Chartiers-Houston, the number of varsity teams likely creates some problems with numbers. Despite its size, Chartiers-Houston offers a number of sports for its students. Girls tennis canceled its season, while numbers have also posed problems for the softball and track teams in the past.
It's not just the small schools suffering from low numbers.
There are several football teams fielding anything from five-player senior classes to no sophomores to two seniors and one junior. Numbers are a widespread problem and it's affecting the majority of schools.
Some students are forced to take jobs. Others concentrate on studies, music or student government. Still, it seems students are no longer as interested in putting forth the effort and discipline it takes to play a sport successfully.