By Bill Tamburrino
Ramona Athletic Director Damon Baldwin seldom uses the term athlete. He uses the term student/athlete and he believes in the term.
Last week Ramona’s tennis team advanced to the second round of CIF playoffs. The CIF match was scheduled on the same day as advanced placement tests. There are no makeups for advanced placement tests. To get college credits the students must take the tests at the assigned time.
At least two RHS tennis players (true student/athletes) were scheduled to take tests. According to Coach Doug Failla, Cathedral Catholic did not want to reschedule the CIF match and didn’t want to play the match later in the afternoon. Coach Baldwin interceded and the match was delayed until the RHS student/athletes could get to the match. As soon as Cathedral Catholic won their 10th and deciding set, Failla was told that Cathedral Catholic, too, had advanced placement students and that they had to get home to study. So the Dons forfeited the remaining sets and the match was over.
Student/athletes work very hard to get to the playoffs. Many tennis players play year-round and take lessons to improve their skills. They deserve to be able to play in CIF playoffs. They earned the berth. Ramona plays in the toughest tennis league in the CIF. It was a hard road to the playoffs.
Pursuing Victory with Honor should be more than a slogan. The CIF really does stress sportsmanship and sportswomanship — if there such a word.
Cathedral Catholic is a well-respected academic institution. It has an excellent athletic tradition. They should have played the remaining sets. By not showing the Bulldogs the decency they deserved, the Cathedral Catholic tennis team (or coach) tarnished the school’s reputation.
“The whole situation was not handled with class,” said Failla. “My student/athletes deserved better. We were not rude. We have team members that are taking challenging courses. They deserve to be able to play a whole match. Just down the street in the same neighborhood, the Torrey Pines baseball team and their parents showed what class is all about last Saturday. Before the first game of the doubleheader, the Falcon coaches and their parents informed Ramona’s players and parents that they didn’t have to leave the school to buy the Bulldog players a between the games lunch.
Torrey Pines baseball booster and parents furnished sandwiches, drinks, and desserts for the Bulldogs players and coaches. The two teams sat in the stands between games and ate together. They then went out and played the second game of the doubleheader. They played hard and Torrey Pines showed that it understands what pursuing victory with honor is all about.
“You can bet that we will return the favor next season,” said Coach Dean Welch. “We are scheduled to play a double header against the Falcons and we will make sure that they are well fed. That was a very classy thing to do and we really appreciate it.”
Between games the Falcons honored a longtime fan. The boosters also had a banner made for their coach, Matt Chess. The first game of the doubleheader was Coach Chess’ 200th win at Torrey Pines. The presentation was done with class and dignity for a classy coach by some classy boosters.