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

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.

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    NICE WORK—A spider remains at the center of a web, awaiting visitors, during a moist morning last month. The was built in front of Eagle Funeral Home in Morenci.
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    STEP BY STEP—Wyatt Stevens of Morenci makes his way across a rope bridge Sunday during the Michigan DNR’s Great Outdoors Jamboree at Lake Hudson Recreation Area. The Tecumseh Boy Scout Troop constructed the bridge again this year after taking a break in 2016. The Jamboree offered a variety of activities for a wide range of age groups. Morenci’s Stair District Library set up activities again this year and had visits with dozens of kids. See the back page for additional photos.
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    LEADING THE WAY—The Morenci Area High School marching band led the way across the pedestrian bridge on Morenci’s south side for the annual Labor Day Bridge Walk. The Band Boosters shared profits from the sale of T-shirts with the walk’s sponsor, the Morenci Area Chamber of Commerce. Additional photos are on the back page.
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    LOOKING UP—More than 200 people showed up at Stair District Library Monday afternoon to view the big celestial event with free glasses provided by a grant from the Space Science Institute. The library offered craft activities from noon to 1 p.m., refreshments including Cosmic Cake from Zingerman’s Bakehouse and a live viewing of the eclipse from NASA on a large screen. As the sky darkened slightly, more and more people moved outside to the sidewalk to take a look at the shrinking sun. If you missed it, hang on for the next total eclipse in 2024 as the path comes even closer to this area.
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    TAKE A BREAK—Last Wednesday’s session of Stair District Library’s Summer Reading Program ended with a quiet period in a class presented by yoga instructor Melany Gladieux of Toledo. Children learned a variety of yoga poses in the main room at the library, then finished off the session relaxing. Additional photos are on page 7. Area children are invited to visit the library today when the Michigan Science Center presents a flight program at 11 a.m. and roller coasters at 1 p.m.
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    THE DERBY—Tyler “Smallpox” Flakne of Minnesota’s Home Run League All-Stars goes for the fence Friday night during the National Wiffle League Association’s home run derby in Morenci. This year the wiffleball national tournament moved from Dublin, Ohio, to Morenci’s Wakefield Park. During the derby, competitors had two minutes to hit as many home runs as possible. The winner this year finished with 21. See page 6 and 7 for additional photos.
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    OUT OF THIS WORLD—Elizabeth McFadden and Elise Christle pose in front of the green screen as VolunTeen Noah Gilson makes them appear as though they are standing on the Moon. More photos from the Stair District Library’s NASA @ My Library program are on page 12.
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    FIREWORKS erupt Saturday night over Morenci’s Wakefield Park during the waning hours of the Town and Country Festival. Additional festival photos are inside.