by Tony Gonsalez
Moreau Catholic High tennis player Jana Lee wanted redemption on Monday afternoon, and she got it in a big way.
Most high school sports consist of the the top talents, the middle tier and the also-rans. When covering tennis, it becomes clear that the middle ground is small, maybe even nonexistent. In this sport, either the players have it or they don’t. A match either is very good or very poor. I am at a loss, though, to explain why this is.
We are running a three-part series on high school coaches. The series started Monday with stories on coaches who are starting out. Tuesday’s package will be on coaches and what they endure to stay at it, and Wednesday we will close with coaches who got out. What’s surprised me is the candor of which coaches spoke of their respective hardships, especially in dealing with parents. It used to be whenever a coach told a reporter about anything in that realm it was prefaced by “this is off the record.” These days dissatisfaction with a coach is much more out in the open and thus many coaches are more willing to talk about these instances. Just checking the Times discussion boards or any other such boards demonstrates that. Another example of how life has changed in the cyber-era.
Well it’s that time of the decade again where the North Coast Section sits all its member schools down at a table and everyone reminds themselves how much they don’t get along. Cynical, yes. Out of touch with reality, no. In today’s Times, Chace Bryson explores the new proposals for league configurations. I looked at these changes this morning and suddenly the new hotbed for controversy is the Bay Shore Conference, within whose boundaries I happen to live.
First thing’s first: This is one of the most political processes you’re ever going to see in high school athletics. Why? Because it directly affects the purse strings that govern competitive equity. That’s especially true when it comes to the ACCAL and BSAL. The new alignment puts Kennedy back in the ACCAL with fellow WCCUSD schools De Anza, El Cerrito, Pinole Valley, and Richmond and also adds John Swett and St. Patrick-St. Vincent to the mix. Does anyone actually believe the Eagles are equipped to compete in any sports other than soccer and basketball in this league? No. What this does is lessen the travel costs for the WCCUSD, and that’s what dictated this move.
We have to put this proposal in perspective. Yes, money is a major factor in these talks whereas the new Valley Conference had concerns over competitive balance. The most popular dissenting opinion for these new leagues is that some schools are concerned with the fact that they can’t compete. I’m not indifferent to those opinions and I can tell you watching a blowout night after night is much less fun than seeing a good game. But the bottom line is this: We need to get these kids on the field and on the court. These moves allow teams like Kennedy and Richmond to cut costs and might allow them to establish some consistency in fielding teams. I care less about the ability to compete than the opportunity to compete and, to a large extent, these moves show that the NCS Board of Managers does too.
On Wednesday, the State Assembly voted down Bill 2312, which intended to loosen the rules of eligibility for high school athletes who transfer schools without moving. The subject long has been a controversial one in high school athletic circles. One wonders if this will be the catalyst for even more debate on transfers. Do the existing regulations keep the situation under control? Will there be any future legislation proposed, or do you expect the topic to drift away? Please weigh in with your comments.
I just got my hands on an amazing resource for prep sports: the sixth edition of CalHiSports.com’s State Record Book & Almanac. Here you can look up practically any state record imaginable, such as most two-point conversions in a season by an individual (14), most yards of total offense in a game (912), most rebounds in a game by an individual (53), most home runs by a team in a season (75).
Curious about who holds these records? There are a limited number of these books on sale at the De La Salle book store. That makes sense since former Spartans star D.J. Williams of the Denver Broncos shares the covers with luminaries as Ted Williams, Marion Jones, Jason Kidd, Lisa Leslie and Tiger Woods. All of these athletes played high school sports in California, and the sheer number of great California athletes is another facet of the book that will amaze you.