There is some irony in this post vis-à-vis the previous entry. Part of my last rant included the reference to doing the "right thing." As crazy as it sounds, sometimes doing the right thing means breaking the rules. In the future I may be breaking a few rules. Let me explain.
When the Patriot League coaches were making decisions about the qualifying standards for today's meet, several coaches (including myself) wanted to open things up a bit to be more inclusive. That is, to allow more athletes to participate and thus extending their seasons. A few of the coaches were quite adamant in declaring their objections. The naysayers won out and it was determined that the top 24 from each event could be entered, but a team without two in the top 24 could enter at least two in each event. No confusion there. Pretty straight forward.
Whitman-Hanson followed the rules without exception. The result was that not everybody we felt should be entered will have the opportunity to run. But rules are rules, right?
Yesterday when the Performance Lists were sent out I was surprised that several teams entered additional athletes who neither finished in the top 24 nor were entered to arrive at the minimum of two entries per school. Some team entered a 3rd or 4th runner in an event who had not made the top 24. Not within the rules, but somewhat understandable While I was disappointed others did not follow the letter of the law, I'm not necessarily troubled by that.
The Performance Lists also revealed that many of the top 24 in particular events will not appear at the Patriot League Meet at all. For example, in the Girls 1000 Meter Run there are 23 entrants. Thirteen of the entrants did not make the top 24 during the season. Those entrants that were among the top 24 include girls ranked 1, 5, 7, 9, 13, 14, 15, 20, 21, and 24. Where are #s 2, 3, 4, etc.?? In the Girl's 2 Mile, the top entrant ran the 4th best time in the League. Where are #s 1, 2 and 3? You'll see the same thing in many of the scheduled events. Ironically, the most vociferous coaches with respect to limited entries have failed to enter many of their top athletes into the meet. Whatever reason he/she may have for holding out an athlete is negated by the fact their position for limited entries was based on the "prestige" of the meet or that he/she had told the kids all season long only the Top 24 would be entered. Are you kidding me? I am troubled by that!!
So what do I do? I've got kids that I work with each day who work extremely hard at improving their performances. Yesterday, in fact, I thanked them all for their effort throughout the season. Long runs, on cold days. Workouts in freezing temperatures. Not a single complaint (OK, Nick's comments are good-natured.) I honestly wanted every one of those kids in today's meet. In my eyes, each one earned it. The answer is not to do as some other coaches have done, enter athletes without regard for the rules. BUT, this is the democratic process at work, I WILL be providing this blog entry to our Athletic Director, with the suggestion that in the future we follow the template used by the MIAA in selecting Patriot League Championship entries. AD Rodgers meets regularly with the other ADs and I'm confident will represent our position well. Like the MIAA, the Patriot League should determine the number of entries that will participate in each event at it's Championship Meet. For example, 24 in the 1000 Meter run. Coaches can "nominate" as many athletes as they wish for each event by entering them on the Direct Athletics site we currently use for that purpose. Ultimately however, using this example, only 24, based on best performances, will be allowed to run. Similar to the Divisional Championship Meet, no team will have to be represented. Entry is gained only by being among those with the best times within the number of entrants allowed. This will preserve the "prestige" of the meet, expand entries to more athletes, and insure the meet can run timely and smoothly. In my mind, a simple solution.
OK, enough of my ranting, and no cause for alarm, I WON'T be breaking rules any time soon. If you have opposing opinions, or alternative suggestions, Id love to hear them. In any event, we'll see you at 3:15 for our trip to the RLTAC. I know it is an early dismissal day. No junk food!!! 3:15 . . .