Scores Of 77-0 And 70-0 Just Aren't That Exciting
Sunday’s column about the epidemic of blowouts in Clark County high school football generated a ton of response. Apparently, people aren’t enamored with games that end 77-0 or 70-0 (despite a running clock after the margin hits 40 points). My idea: Divide the 4A and 3A leagues in terms of competitiveness rather than enrollment, and then have a relegation system that moves teams between the leagues. Anyway, you can read about it here. As for the feedback and some additional thoughts that didn’t make it into the column:
— There are plenty of good insights in the comments at the bottom of the story. Good points from readers that are worth perusing.
— One of the e-mails I received called into question how high schools go about hiring football coaches: “I would like to suggest that it is coaching, and more importantly the lack of hiring a decent coach to teach fundamentals, make it a fun experience to get kids to turn out . . .”
Jon Eagle of Camas, one of the coaches I quoted in the story, had a similar thought but approached it from a different angle: “Administratively if you want to help your staff and be successful, you can. Show me a school that’s not being successful, and I’ll show you an administration that’s not supporting its coaches.”
— A couple coaches I quoted pointed out the financial disparities between programs. One reader added that participation fees are now a fact of life for high school sports, and that can exacerbate the financial disparities. Good point.
He also wrote: “The positive input from the coaches you interviewed was encouraging. O’Rourke, Eagle, Piland all recognized that a large part of the problem is economic. Their comments confirm to me they are in it for the youngsters, not just their specific teams. I admire that.”
— As the column mentioned, the differences between the strong programs and the weak programs is made greater by the fact that parents are more willing these days to move so their kids can play for a strong program. One e-mailer wrote about the down side of that: Kids who have been in a program and have put in a lot of work often get pushed aside by players who transfer in.
That clearly is a drawback. As the parent of an eighth-grader who’s getting ready to enter high school sports, I can understand the frustration of parents whose athletes are the “victims” of such a situation. But there’s nothing that can be done about it. If a family moves into a school boundary, the school or the coach can’t tell them they can’t play; and the coach’s job is to put the best possible team on the field.
— Union coach Cale Piland said one reason for the huge blowouts this year might be the extraordinary excellence of the top teams this year: “Time will tell when we get into the playoffs. We’ll see if the ‘haves’ are just playing really good football. We have some programs that are playing some high-level football.”
— Piland also mentioned that some of the struggling programs have gone through several coaches in the past couple years. He stressed the importance of giving a coach time to build a program, and pointed to Prairie’s Terry Hyde as an example of a coach who has helped turn a program around: “He has changed the perception of the program. Playing football at Prairie is cool now.”
Piland added: “Building a program is not an easy thing, and turning a program around is even harder. Wearing my A.D. hat now, as long as I have coaches who are working hard and know what they want to do, that’s all you can ask.”
— And finally, one soccer coach sent a note that quoted a line from the column: “There I said it: Clark County football should be more like European soccer. I will now flog myself with a thicket of brambles.” The coach said it made him laugh out loud. His e-mail made my day.