Schedule woes: TCC still has work to do with basketball 2012.11.21

Written by David Green.

Think back a year ago when Morenci's new school basketball schedule was about to unfold. The changes that league members made were announced the previous spring and the dismay began then. We also remember that an editorial in this space took the attitude of "Let's give it a try." After all, there was at least one state in the union that routinely paired girls and boys varsity games for years. It was just was just normal scheduling for them, and perhaps the Tri-County Conference would adjust to the change, also.

When the actual schedule was released, it was obvious that this would be a hard sell to anyone. Even those who favored allowing girls to play the same night as the boys and to give them the opportunity to play the "main feature" second game were perplexed.

The schedule made no sense. There was no rhythm, no regularity. Occasionally the junior varsity and varsity of each gender paired up for a night together, but mostly the two varsity teams shared the evening—something that sorely disappointed coaches who wanted to watch the younger players without having to travel another night away from their families.

The value of the schedule wasn't just to tell a fan who the opponent would be, but to lay out which night of the week and when.

The new schedule was an obvious flop to players, coaches and fans alike, so this year league representatives made some changes. Is it more orderly? Yes. Is it still confusing? Yes. Is it still frustrating? Definitely. For example, this season the boys and girls play five nights on the same date, but in different locations. For example, the girls travel to Whiteford on the same night that the boys play Whiteford at home. There was a time when that arrangement was avoided at all costs, and now it's become a standard feature of the TCC schedule.

We can't imagine there will be much satisfaction with this year's schedule and we urge athletic directors to continue looking around at other leagues for ideas. The Buckeye Border Conference, for example, has an easy solution to sharing Friday nights by splitting the season in half. Perhaps there are other possibilities if that isn't acceptable.

Conversations such as this one always seem a little odd in years when exchange students are enrolled here. They're asked about differences between their home educational system and what they're now experiencing in the U.S. One response is guaranteed: "There's so much emphasis on athletics. Back home, sports aren't even part of school."

It's a good reminder for those who might see school as a vehicle for athletics. It's academics that lead the way, no matter what night of the week the gymnasium is in use.

  • Front.poles
    MOVING EAST—Utility workers continue their slow progress east along U.S. 20 south of Morenci. New electrical poles are put in place before wiring is moved into place.
  • Front.cowboy
    A PERFORMER named Biligbaatar, a member of the AnDa Union troupe from Inner Mongolia, dances at Stair District Library last week during a visit to the Midwest. The nine-member group blends a variety of traditions from Inner and Outer Mongolia. The music is described as drawing from “all the Mongol tribes that Genghis Khan unified.” The group considers itself music gatherers whose goal is to preserve traditional sounds of Mongolia. Biligbaatar grew up among traditional herders who live in yurts. Additional photos are on the back page of this week’s Observer.
  • Front.base Ball
    UMPIRE Thomas Henthorn tosses the bat between team captains Mikayla Price and Chuck Piskoti of Flint’s Lumber City Base Ball Club. Following the 1860 rules, after the bat was grabbed by the captains, captains’ hands advanced to the top of the bat—one hand on top of the other. The captain whose hand ended up on top decided who would bat first. Additional photos of Sunday’s game appear on page 12 of this week’s Observer. The contest was organized in conjunction with Stair District Library’s Hometown Teams exhibit that runs through Nov. 20.
    VALUE OF ATHLETICS—Morenci graduate John Bancroft (center) takes a turn at the microphone during a chat session at the opening of the Hometown Teams exhibit at Stair District Library. Clockwise to his left is John Dillon, Jed Hall, Jim Bauer, Joe Farquhar, George Hollstein, George Vereecke and Mike McDowell. Thomas Henthorn (at the podium) kicked off the conversation. Henthorn, a University of Michigan–Flint professor, will return to Morenci this Sunday to lead a game of vintage base ball at the school softball field.
  • Front.cross
    HUDSON RUNNER Jacob Morgan looks toward the top of the hill with dismay during the tough finish at Harrison Lake State Park. Fayette runner Jacob Garrow focuses on the summit, also, during the Eagle Invitational cross country run Saturday morning. Continuing rain and drizzle made the course even more challenging. Results of the race are in this week’s Observer.
  • Front.bear
    HOLDEN HUTCHISON gives a hug to a black bear cub—the product of a taxidermist’s skills—at the Michigan DNR’s Great Youth Jamboree. The event on Sunday marked the fourth year of the Jamboree. Additional photos are on page 12.
  • Front.hose Testing
    HOSE safety—The FireCatt hose testing company from Troy put Morenci Fire Department hose to the test Monday morning when Mill Street was closed to traffic. The company also checks nozzles and ladders for wear in an effort to keep fire fighters safe while on calls.

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