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Sports

April 17, 2013

Rick Teverbaugh: Survived last week, but change needed

— We survived last week. Not sure how much of it was as enjoyable as it could have been.

But this is our job. It doesn’t need to be fun. Yet it does need to be possible, and last week was a long way from that in regard to providing the coverage deserved by the county high school teams.

On Friday of last week, there were county events for baseball, softball, tennis and track going on at nine different venues at exactly the same time. Nine. I do not have nine writers at my disposal nor do I have space to run nine different local stories in a single day’s paper.

So the problem becomes, what do we not cover and upon what do we base that decision?

When the event that a particular reader wants to be covered is skipped, that reader blames the newspaper. It is an understandable reaction. It is just misdirected. The people who don’t care whether the events of last week get covered are the county’s athletic directors.

They also don’t care if fans of their school have to make tough decisions about which of that school’s athletic programs they support. Those decisions need to be made because many times last week a single school would have two and maybe as many as four teams playing at the same time in different places.

That is just as hard for the fans as it is for us.

Several changes need to be made.

First and foremost is that all of the spring sports deserve a week to themselves. Failing at that, no more than two sports should have county competitions in the same week. Baseball and tennis could be held one week, track and softball the next. Golf already holds its county event later in the season to help insure better weather.

The week chosen for this period of insanity is poor for several reasons. It is at a place in the school calender where many teams are playing the second day back from spring break, and in some cases it is the first game of the season.

Specific to improving the baseball and softball tournaments, the big suggestion is get away from including nine schools. It just doesn’t work. I didn’t speak with a single baseball or softball coach who liked it. Depending on the blind draw, one team will only play two games that week while all the others get at least three in.

If nobody wants to un-invite a school, and I understand that, then perhaps the last-place school each year will have to skip the following year. That would provide extra motivation for winning that first game on Saturday morning.

Next, the track meet needs to move away from Madison-Grant. It makes little sense to hold the event at a facility incapable of holding one of the events — the pole vault.

There are so many ways the spring county meets could be improved, and here’s hoping some of those are implemented before next season. The fans and our readers deserve more.

Sports editor Rick Teverbaugh’s columns appear twice weekly.

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