The Lame List or what’s weak with all-league selections
We have the utmost respect for high school coaches. We couldn’t do our jobs without their help.
They teach high school students not just about being better athletes, but being better people.
They make split-second, tough decisions that undoubtedly leave them open to criticism from all angles.
But then after the season, when they put together the all-league team, they turn into wishy-washy wimps who just want everyone to be a winner.
All-league teams are supposed to be a celebration of the best in every league. When you become more concerned with not offending people than actually picking the most deserving athletes, you lessen the honor of being selected to the all-league team, for everyone.
So borrowing from the Seattle-based 1990s sketch-comedy show “Almost Live” here is the “Lame List” or “What’s Weak with All-League Selections”
Leaving the player of the year off the first team
Some people have told me that the player of the year or MVP is just an extension of the first team. OK, I can buy that. But not when there are positions involved. You would expect to find one quarterback, one catcher, one goalkeeper on the first team. The first team should have the best quarterback on it, not the second-best QB because the best QB is the player of the year (completely hypothetical scenario). Some leagues select an MVP, offensive player of the year and defensive player of the year. And NONE of them appear on the first team. In a word, that’s ..
Too many players on the first team
I can buy having more players on the first team than numbers of players you can put on the field or court at one time. Exceptions can be made for specialized positions or utility players. But when you have 18 players on the soccer first team, then it gets rediculous. Craig Craker of the Tri City Herald reported that the Mid-Columbia Conference football first team had 31 players on it, including two quarterbacks.
Coaches nominating more players from their team than they can put in their own starting lineup
We once received an all-league soccer team, and I thought there were a bunch of players from one school on the first team, second team and honorable mention. So I counted them all. Fourteen players. FOURTEEN. So three players who weren’t good enough to start on their own team were good enough for all-league selection. And it wasn’t just that one team. Another team has 12 players listed, and another had 11. And none of of those three teams went on to win a state playoff game that year.
If all-league team has offensive and defensive first team, having rule that says a player can’t be on first team on both offense and defense
If your league has this rule, then it means you can get 22 different players on the first team. Or 23, 25, 28 or 31 if you play in the Mid-Columbia. But again, the first team should be for the best players in the league. And if one of the best running backs in the league is also one of the best linebacker, his name should appear on the first team on offense and defense. You shouldn’t make the first team by default.
Withholding the release of the all-league until all of the league’s teams have been eliminated from the playoffs
This one I just don’t get. Not many leagues do this, but some still do. The thinking is that teams still playing in the postseason don’t want the all-league team being a distraction. But if you’re team’s psyche is so fragile to be derailed by all-league selections, hasn’t your team already lost?
All-league team determined by finished in district meet
A lot of leagues do this with individual sports. The athlete who wins district is on the first-team all-league. The runner-up is on the second team all-league. Well, what’s the point of having an all-league team at all then. Coaches are always telling us about the importance of the dual-meet season. The district meet determines who advances to regionals or state. Shouldn’t the all-league be about who performed well through the entire season, and not just on one day? An athlete may get hurt or sick prior to district, then miss out on advancing. Shouldn’t they have the all-league team to honor what they accomplished during the season before they got hurt or sick? It’s like a cop-out. Coaches don’t want to vote on a team, so they’ll just let the district meet results.
This one drives us batty. Any time we receive an all-league team, the first thing we do is scour the list to make sure the name spellings are correct. But we can’t catch them all. There are a lot of names on all-league teams, and many of them we haven’t seen that much to be familiar with spellings. Can’t leagues just make sure to double-check those names before submitting the lists to us? It’s one of the big reasons we put these all-league teams on our blog first. That way people can see, let us know so we can fix it BEFORE they run in print.
Co-players, co-coaches of the year
OK, we realize that it’s possible that votes for player of the year can end in a tie. But to see how frequently all-league teams have co-players of the year, it makes you wonder if it has anything to do with voting. Here’s a story we heard a couple of years ago about one “vote.” The league coaches met to select the all-league team. A nomination was offered for player of the year, and there seemed to be a consensus behind that nomination. But one coach said “But what about this player from MY team?” So what did they do? Have a heady discussion about the pros and cons of each candidate and then vote? No. They just said “Well, I guess they can be co-players of the year.” Noooo!!!!!
And what is up with co-coaches of the year? Most area leagues only have five or six teams, and you guys can’t narrow it down to ONE coach? Who are you afraid of? The coaches’ moms calling into complain about the pick? Do this. Pick A coach of the year, or don’t pick ANY coach of the year.