Timeout with Tambo: Fair competition equals success for Bulldogs

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The fall sports season has been good to and good for Ramona High School. With all sports returning to the Valley League, except football, once again every Bulldog team had a chance to compete. Competition is what sports and athletics are all about.

Every fall sports team entered the season knowing that they had a chance to compete in the Valley League and compete they did.

The Bulldog girls tennis team won the Valley League. They would not have had a chance to win the Palomar League. Several Lady Dawgs made all league and advanced to the CIF singles and doubles tournaments. They would not have had that opportunity in the Palomar League.

The golf team was very young (no seniors) and was a work in progress. Like their coach, John Rathbun, predicted, the Lady Dawg golfers improved each week, won their share of matches, and competed well. They didn’t dominate, but they had a fighting chance and took that chance and fought hard.

Water polo finished the Valley League in second place with a winning record, 4-1, and were 19-10 overall. A second place finish in the Palomar League would have been highly unlikely. The Water Dawgs advanced to the quarterfinals in the playoffs.

The Bulldog boys cross country team won the Valley League meet and the league championship. The Dawgs were 4-1 in dual meets and tied with Del Norte going into the Valley League meet. All seven of Ramona’s top runners made all league. That probably would not have happened in the Palomar League. The team advanced to the state meet and Forrest Riley finished third in the state.

The girls cross country team also competed well in the Valley League. The Lady Dawgs finished tied for second place in the league and were 3-2 in dual meets. Five Bulldogs girls earned All Valley League honors. That probably would not have happened in the Palomar League. The team advanced to the CIF meet.

Coach Connie Halfaker’s Bulldog girls volleyball team had a stellar season. They finished with a 21-12 record and finished 6-4 and in third place in the Valley League. The Lady Bulldogs advanced to the quarterfinals in the playoffs.

The Bulldog football team had to remain in the Palomar League in order for the other RHS teams to enter the Valley League. It appears that the administrators in the North County are not all that concerned with fair competition and are very concerned about making money from the football gate. Their greedbackfired on them. The Bulldogs overcame the odds and are playing in the CIF championship game for the first time since Ramona resident Jerry Van Zant guided the Bulldogs to the 1973 title game

Ramona supports its own as well as, if not better, than any high school or community in the North County so the powers that be wanted our football gate money in the Palomar League. I find it ironic that a school like Torrey Pines, which probably has more boosters’ money than any other Palomar League school, doesn’t travel well, especially in football. Torrey Pines brought fewer fans to the Dawg Pound than any Grossmont League school or City League school that has traveled up the mountain. Most opponents brought more fans to frosh football games than Torrey Pines brought to the varsity game. So much for the “gate is everything” theory.

Football coach Damon Baldwin, his staff, and players did a lot more than travel well this season. Along with their gate receipts for Palomar League opponents, they brought a hungry and aggressive football team that took second place in the Palomar League. The league officials got a lot more than they bargained for in that deal.

The Bulldogs’ success was just a harbinger of things to come. The JV team went undefeated in the Palomar League.

Just having a fair chance to compete might have been the motivation for the fall teams’ successes. The fact is more teams had better records and more Bulldog athletes earned all league honors in the Valley League than would have in the Palomar League. Some teams in some sports can be competitive in the Palomar League but all of RHS’ teams can compete fairly in the Valley League. And, unless you are an administrator trying to balance the budget and make money off of gate receipts, that is what is important.

   
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