Tuesday, August 26, 2008

What's up with this?

First, Avella football cancels its opening scrimmage at Laurel. Then contacts the WPIAL about canceling the 2008 season. Upon hearing it could mean not playing in 2009, Avella officials opt to continue.

Then comes the news of the Chartiers-Houston girls tennis team, which went 21-1 a year ago and produced the PIAA Class AA doubles champions in Karli Timko and Tanya Timko. With only five plays, C-H is forced to cancel its season and can only compete an independant schedule in 2009.

Granted, Avella and Chartiers-Houston are small schools. Numbers are often a problem in Class A, but teams canceling seasons or coming close before it starts is not common practice.

What gives?

At Avella, there have been three football coaches in four years. The Eagles haven't made the playoffs since 1976 - the longest such streak in the WPIAL. Apathy toward the program is a culprit for low numbers.

At Chartiers-Houston, the number of varsity teams likely creates some problems with numbers. Despite its size, Chartiers-Houston offers a number of sports for its students. Girls tennis canceled its season, while numbers have also posed problems for the softball and track teams in the past.

It's not just the small schools suffering from low numbers.

There are several football teams fielding anything from five-player senior classes to no sophomores to two seniors and one junior. Numbers are a widespread problem and it's affecting the majority of schools.

Some students are forced to take jobs. Others concentrate on studies, music or student government. Still, it seems students are no longer as interested in putting forth the effort and discipline it takes to play a sport successfully.

10 comments:

Brian said...

One reason you leave out is that many students are not playing multiple sports anymore. No matter what they say, high school coaches cringe when they see their star player putting themself at risk in the offseason by playing another sport. Not only that, but they want that athlete to specialize in the sport in which they coach. So many teams have their "optional" but advised practices all year long that it is almost impossible for a high schooler to do it all. Any given day it seems like kids have an open gym for this, conditioning for that, and then practice for the sport thats in season. That's a bit outrageous if you ask me. If a high schooler is faced with a decision between sports, most are going to pick the one that is easier or has the more successful program. With more and more travel and AAU teams, specialization in high school sports is going to continue to grow. The days of 3-sport stars like Brendan Steele and Mike Hull may be limited.

Dpat said...

There was a time not too long ago that i heard a respected sports person say something like this... Florida has the top high school baseball players without a doubt, texas and california have the best football players out there and new york is where you can find the best basketball, but western pennsylvania may have the best athletes of them all....

maybe not anymore...

Coach said...

I am a local HS teacher and coach. I see TONS of apathy from GOOD athletes at my school, and hear stories from other schools of pretty much the same. Stud athletes, play one year, think it's too hard or practice is too long, and don't come back the next year. Or the coach is "too mean" and they don't come back- even though they may have been a starter! It's tough to find a "full" team or squad of dedicated athletes willing to put the time and work in to reap the benefits. That's why I guess certain programs (Peters soccer, Char Hou softball, TJ football, Rochester football, Quaker Valley Track, etc) have the same success every year and fill their trophy cases up....

Anonymous said...

what high school is this?

mike_kovak said...

Good point Brian. Specialization was something I first crossed while working for the Beaver County Times in the late 1990s and seeing athletes like Brandon Fuss-Cheatham playing only basketball.

Even when I was in high school, back in the early 90s, I could play soccer year-round from the fall to indoor in the winter to West Penn in the spring and youth leagues in the summer. And I did.

Maybe more kids see sports as a way to college and specializing helps get them there.

That still doesn't explain what's going on in small schools IMO.

Anonymous said...

Another reason is the youth football leagues they play in. most leagues exclude the bigger kids and by the time junior high and high school rolls around they have found other interests. Go back to the days when there was not a weight limit in football. I see more injuries now with the weight limit than I did w/ot.

Anonymous said...

First and foremost education is still tops in my book. But I think it's a shame that those who want to play three sports and can still keep a good GPA are forced to choose. I agree with Brian, nicely put. I think kids lean toward their favorite sport. It's a shame they are weeded out because they don't "condition" all year for one sport.

the new breed d.p. said...

Great point Brian. I too have been the victim of specialization during my high school career. I decided to give up my dream of playing quarterback so that I could focus on being a LHP for the baseball team. In the end it got me to college but I always wonder "what if" as to where football could have taken me.

Fball Coach Fee said...

Ahhh i remember the Peck kid had an absolute cannon. Coulda used him at quarterback a lot. I wish he woulda stuck it out a little bit longer. Something tells me that Terrell Pryor would be following in the New Breed's shadows.

breed fan said...

pecker how ya been kid? any chance we will see you roaming the streets of cburg any time soon?