Timeout with Tambo

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By BILL TAMBURRINO

In a world more concerned with being politically correct than being right, some high school sports have sold out and some still are doing things the way they are supposed to be done.

The whole idea of ratings and power rankings and strength of schedule is making me sick. The new system, which basically says that you have been good in the past so we are letting you in the playoffs next year no matter what, is the epitome of political correctness. However, I am encouraged when I see some sports still doing what is right and that is what should be politically correct.

I want to give a big hoorah to the individual sports in high school athletics. Win and you are in or two and a Bar-B-Q (very poetic). In tennis, golf, track, cross country, swimming, diving, gymnastics and wrestling, the winners are rewarded and the losers aren’t.

In a society where we only enforce some of the laws for some of the people, and where we make more exceptions than we follow the laws, something can be learned by watching what the individual sports do. They have found a way for teams to win and for individuals to advance in CIF, state and national competitions. No votes, no committees, no power rankings, no quotas, no excuses. Just win baby!

Since it is wrestling season, I will build my case using grapplers as my prime example but it works for all individual sports.

In wrestling they have dual meets and individual tournaments during the regular season. In the post season there are ways for an individual to advance and for a team to win. Since most of the leagues are not fair in the first place, North County wrestling has done away with league individual tournaments. They go right to a CIF tournament. The winners advance to the Masters Tournament and the best three in the section in San Diego go on to the state tournament. My only gripe is that some sections get more qualifiers than others, but the philosophy is the same, WINNERS advance. Wrestling doesn’t have divisions at the state meet. Wrestlers from all divisions compete for one championship. California is the only state that does this. The team with the most points wins. Novel concept!

They don’t give power points for losing like they do in team sports. In some sports a team can lose in the CIF playoffs, and advance to the state playoffs. Ramona has done that in at least three sports.

What could be fairer than competing against another athlete that weighs the same? What other sport guarantees a state championship for a 106-pound athlete? And the Olympic Committee, the epitome of all that is wrong in sports, in its lack of wisdom wants to eliminate wrestling from its political (but not always politically correct) games. However, the committee members are keeping ribbon waving, riding a bike in a cylinder, swimming upside down and pingpong which were not in the first Olympics. They even give medals to horses and boats. When they drop wrestling they should add a dog show or a hot dog- eating contest. To make it politically correct and not pro-American, let’s make that raw fish or raw meat- eating contest, but not the losers of the dog show.

In team sports, the All County, All State, All American and All CIF teams are voted upon by people who haven’t seen many and, in some cases, any of the athletes play. In tennis a player from a weak team can be all CIF if he/she is good enough. No voting needed. Serve the ball! In golf the same is true. Tee it up! Swimming, diving, track, field, cross country and gymnastics ditto!

In some team sports they now have double elimination CIF tournaments, which are why those sports will never have a state tournament. Sound familiar?

Sports are a microcosm of society. “You didn’t score high enough on your test and your grades are not that good but we are letting you in our college anyway because we have quotas or because you play basketball and won’t go to class anyway.”

It is ironic that besides wrestling, the only sports that are doing things right are non-revenue producing sports. Ever wonder if the committee that decides who gets in its biggest money-maker might let in a school that draws well instead of a more deserving team? That is why the CIF lets losing teams in the playoffs in the first place. They make money off of them.

Congrats to the individual sports. Let’s hope that the CIF doesn’t go the way of the Olympic Committee and try to eliminate a sport that does things right.

   
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