Saturday, February 9, 2008

Too many teams

People used to make fun of the National Hockey League for setting up a system that let way too many teams make the playoffs, but the NHL had nothing on high school sports in Pennsylvania. The current WPIAL basketball playoffs are a case in point. Some of the teams playing in the opening round of the playoffs had twice as many losses as wins, and at least one team had three times as many losses as victories. Sixty percent of the girls and boys teams in the WPIAL made the postseason. And it's not just basketball. Last fall, one of our local high school football teams had one victory heading into the final week of the regular season and, by winning that game, made the playoffs. There's something wrong with a system that allows a team that finishes 2-8 to continue playing. Except for the occasional miracle, these teams are just getting set up for a monumental thrashing in their first playoff appearance. They might have a brief feeling of high self-esteem by being a "playoff team,” but how do they feel when they get manhandled (or womanhandled, as the case may be) in their initial playoff game. An example: In a first-round girls playoff game on Saturday, the North Catholic girls demolished Cornell, 61-6. That was not a typo. Cornell scored six points. Of course, there is a reason for expanding the playoffs to the point where really crummy teams make the postseason: It's so the WPIAL can rake in more money. The playoffs should be about the best teams challenging one another to determine who's No. 1, and the less-talented kids shouldn't get pummeled in the process for the sake of a few bucks.



Blogger PRIguy said...

True, much of it is about money to be made, but there is a deeper issue here.

Children today are being raised to believe that they are the most important entities on this planet. They are pampered and praised to the point that if they have the slightest setback, it becomes a tragedy for them.

Sports teams for children don't keep score so there are no losers. Awww. Are they supposed to "win" at everything all of their lives? I have news for them: there is always going to be someone who is prettier, taller, stronger, smarter, more handsome, has better hair, smaller feet, a bigger bust, a tighter butt or whiter teeth. It's simple reality. But parents now are teaching their children that they will always win - despite being on a team that goes 2-8. That's a losing record no matter how you slice it. What's even worse is that allowing a losing team into the playoffs considerably diminishes the accomplishments of those teams that made the playoffs because they earned it...not because they were afraid of hurt feelings.

If these children never learn to deal with adversity, what will they do when the real world smacks them in the face? Will there be grief counselors for them if they can't make the mortgage that month because they had some big medical bills? What if they become parents of a mentally or physically handicapped child? What then?

It's going to be a frightening world when these entitled, spoiled brats are running things. We can't all win all the time.

February 12, 2008 at 7:53 PM  
Anonymous Harry Funk said...

The North Catholic-Cornell score shouldn't have looked like a type.

North Catholic is a school that has the ability to "encourage" the best girl hoopsters from around the Pittsburgh area to play there.

Cornell has 678 students ... in the entire school district, K-12. About 80 girls attend Cornell High School, so approximately 1/8 of them are on the basketball team.

Bless 'em for trying.

February 16, 2008 at 9:45 AM  
Anonymous Harry Funk said...

In the previous comment, the word "type" looks like a typo! (Hey, it's Saturday morning ...)

February 16, 2008 at 9:46 AM  

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