Bits And Pieces From The Post-Modernist Sports Desk...
By Tom Danehy
EVER SINCE THAT cover story on club sports ran last week, I've been bombarded with related horror stories from parents, coaches and student athletes.
Bob Vielledent, who was quoted in the article, called to tell me that things have gotten so bad with the all-star summer basketball nonsense that new rules are being drafted which would dramatically alter the landscape as it now exists.
Under the new rules, all the American Amateur Union (AAU) and Basketball Congress International (BCI) teams which now criss-cross the country would be pretty much grounded. Kids with high-school eligibility left would not be allowed to play more than 50 miles away from their homes unless they were playing for their high-school team.
The excesses of the shoe-company summer camps will also be addressed, and don't be surprised if it leads to a banning of college coaches from such gatherings, either voluntarily by or mandate from college presidents.
I know that college coaches have busy lives, but these summer all-star meat markets are vulgar. They're not only leaving a stain on the college game, they're distorting kids' values. But as long as the shoe companies are willing to throw big money around and there are satin-sweat-suit-wearing wannabes dying to "coach" these gullible kids, there are going to be problems. The college coaches need to protect the integrity of their sport and opt out of this situation.
ON THE HOME front, I saw in The Arizona Daily Star the other day that Canyon Del Oro's girls were challenging Salpointe for the Class 5A-South tennis championship. Much was made of the fact that Salpointe would be short-handed for the showdown, two of their players in California for some juniors' tournament.
That fact was reported nonchalantly, like it's no big deal. But it's exactly that kind of thinking that's threatening high-school sports. Their school team should come first, in all cases. A bad message is being sent, that it's more important for Missy, Cissy or Pissy to be over in La Jolla trying to win a big trophy than back home, helping the old alma mater win the big game.
IN THAT SAME article, the writer mentioned that before dropping a match to CDO earlier this year, Salpointe had gone more than a decade without a loss in 5A-South play. That obviously wasn't true, since the Lancers lost last year to Amphi. I mentioned this to a friend of mine from Salpointe, and they shrugged, "Well, that doesn't count because Salpointe's best kids were off playing in (a juniors' tournament)."
What does that mean? The country-club set sends their kids jetting off to a tourney, so reality is suspended back home? The kids aren't really missing school and if their team loses without them, it doesn't count? I don't think so.
I called the Star and mentioned it. The guy there had the same attitude. He remembered when that happened and said that Salpointe's better players were out of town at the time. So what's Amphi supposed to do? Say they'll wait until those other kids get back, or just whup whoever they have in front of them?
If you want some glossy winning streak to remain intact, send your best all the time. And if you don't do that and you lose, don't pretend it didn't happen.
I know writers like to make things dramatic, but the straight record is: Salpointe's loss to CDO this year was its first loss since last season, when it also lost.
(The same thing happened at the end of basketball season, when the guy at the Citizen, who does a good job covering prep sports, wrote that Salpointe's boys were going for their seventh-consecutive championship. In fact, they were going for their third straight. Emerson Whitley, who just finished up a great career at Yale, helped lead Amphi to two straight titles, and before that, Tucson High and Sahuaro were champions.)
A FEW NOTES: Word has it that a former Tucson High boys basketball coach has reached an accord with the Tucson Unified School District on his grievance after losing his long-time coaching position before this past season.
While he'll receive some money, he will not be getting his old job back. He will, however, have automatic first crack at any job that opens up in the district. That may mean Sabino. District One, thy name is instability.
Former Cholla football coach Jeff Woodruff mounted a full-scale attack when the job at Palo Verde High opened up. He told the interviewing committee that he wanted to build a great program at the school, and would be there for the long haul.
He was hired and he announced a meeting for all football players. A couple days later, the meeting was canceled because Woodruff took a job on Dick Tomey's staff at the UA. Now the kids at Cholla and Palo Verde are left hanging.
Finally, this is a doozy: Perhaps the worst Class-5A football program in the state this decade has been the lowly Pueblo Warriors. They've gone through several coaches, student participation is low, and fan turnout is pathetic.
So when it came time to hire yet another coach, who throws his hat into the ring but the current athletic director, Curly Santa Cruz. This guy's a legend at the school. He coached the Warriors back in the '80s and took the team to state several times, winning Coach of the Year honors along the way.
Not only that, he's been associated with the school for nearly 30 years, as a student, a teacher, a coach, and now an administrator. With Santa Cruz back at the helm, Pueblo stood a real chance of climbing back to football respectability.
But the administration decided to hire someone with no head-coaching experience. I wish the guy well, but this was a blunder of monumental proportions.
Home | Currents | City Week | Music | Review | Books | Cinema | Back Page | Archives
| © 1995-97 Tucson Weekly . Info Booth