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Sports commentary: Just perfect

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This spring's end-of-season is a mess

By Mike Forster

 

Well, they've gone and made a mess of things.

I'm not exactly sure who "they" are.  But I am sure what the mess is:  It's the end of the preps' spring season.

A confluence of events has really messed things up good.  I'd call it a "perfect storm" of events, but the wife is tired of me using that term.  For instance, I'll say, "A perfect storm of the Cubs being on WGN and there being a bottle of Sam Adams in the refrigerator resulted in my not painting the dining room trim."

Or, I'll tell her, "A perfect storm of it being dark and my being sleepy resulted in the toilet seat being left in the up position for you this morning."

Of course, her response is along the lines of, "Because of this perfect storm of your perfect storms, you can find a nice spot to sleep on the sofa, assuming Razor the Dog doesn't mind."

So, I'll refrain from that particular descriptor.  Nevertheless, here is the situation:

-We are in the midst of district tournaments which mean exactly nothing.

-The VHSL championship weekend takes place a full three weeks after Bedford County high schools hold their graduation ceremonies.

 

The district tournaments in question belong to the Seminole.  They are being held in baseball, softball and soccer this week.  Last week, they had tennis and track.

These tourneys are good for 

a)  giving out an extra trophy to the winning team.

b)  having a location for announcing members of the All-Seminole teams.

Other than that, they serve no purpose.  Bupkis.

They are so bupkis-ee, that these tourneys factor in not a whit when it comes to seedings for playoffs at the conference (and above) level.

My belief is that coaches view these tournament games as:

a) opportunities to fine-tune specific aspects of their teams.

b) opportunities for injury prior to the games that count.  Hence, they rest some of their top talent. 

The Blue Ridge no longer has district tournaments.  Because of the new VHSL configuration, the seven-team district loses William Fleming and picks up Magna Vista.  That seven-team configuration then enters Conference 31 play.

For the Seminole, it's not so simple.  The district breaks up into three different conferences over two regions.  Again, the tourney means nothing.

So, here's what I'd propose.  Move the tourney from the end of the season to the beginning.  Kind of like that pre-season NIT in college hoops.

As far as the muck-up vis-a-vis graduation, I'm at a loss for a fix to that.

Here's a snapshot of how things will go (at least for softball, baseball and soccer):

This week:  Seminole District tournaments.

May 24:  Graduation for all three high schools (at the Vines Center of Liberty University).

Week of May 26-30:  Conference 24 (JF), Conference 30 (Liberty) and Conference 31 (Staunton River) tournaments.

Week of June 2-6:  Region 4A-North (JF) and Region 3A-West tournaments.

Week of June 9:  State quarterfinals.

June 13 and 14:  State semifinals (at LU).

So, it is possible for a senior student-athlete to go to LU on May 24 to receive his (or her) diploma, only to return to the campus and play for the school from which he (or she) graduated a full 21 days before.

It will take either tremendous coaching or incredible dedication (or both) to keep these teams' seniors engaged, focused and motivated in a post-season which runs exclusively after graduation.

After all, beaches beckon.  Parties pulsate and festivities fascinate in the whirlwind that is post-graduation.

It's a shame that our student-athletes will be put in the position of having to choose.