In 48 hours, KIF could do justice to student athletes
orty-eight hours is a long time. In a pinch, my father once loaded his station wagon and drove from San Francisco to Eastern Canada in the time span.
It’s 48 episodes of The West Wing or Ally McBeal.
It would also provide ample opportunity for Kaua’i Interscholastic Federation competition. But those shows don’t begin airing with regularity until Thursday. Which will mean participants were given a full week – teams began practicing April 24 – to re-acclimate to the rigors of high school sport following a 20-day teachers’ strike.
“It’s a safety issue,” is what you’ll hear if you ask those with decision-making power why Kaua’i’s student athletes – besides golf – aren’t yet competing. Bodies needed to be given time to regain their pre-strike athletic forms.
Does that mean students in the Oahu Interscholastic Association maintained better conditioning over the layoff? Because that league restarts its regular season today. In fact, but some of its baseball teams will play six games in eight days, some of its girls’ basketball teams seven games in 10 days.
“It’s going to be a tremendous strain on our athletes,” OIA executive director Dwight Toyama said. “But it was important to us to salvage the season. And that’s what our athletic directors decided to do.”
Such activity on Oahu begs the question: Why couldn’t the KIF squeeze some semblance of a second round into its baseball and girls’ basketball revised schedules? They could do it in 48 hours.
I’m not suggesting seasons should have been completed in their entirety. But a plan should have been devised whereby a first-round champion was crowned, and also included in a round-robin tournament to determine the second-round champion. That would have eliminated the prospect that the island’s dominant team could be ousted because of a single bad game, as it stands now.
Of course, I know the reasons for the current set-up are not completely arbitrary.
The KIF doesn’t like to overlap its sporting events. But it’s already had to concede that desire on a couple of dates.
For instance, Saturday, May 5, will be a nightmare for a certain local sports editor. From tennis at 8 a.m. to girls’ basketball at 7 p.m., the day is ripe with competition.
Which highlights perhaps the chief issue under the overlapping umbrella: Many KIF participants compete in multiple sports.
However, most of the cross pollination occurs in track and some other sport. For that reason, the KIF needed to do its best to forbid any other sport from being scheduled in conjunction with a track meet. Other than the Rotary Club meet on May 3, that has been accomplished.
But that should have ended the juggling. Faced with circumstances beyond unique, it was incumbent on the league to abandon a crucial deep-rooted desire and find a way to play more baseball and girls’ basketball games.
Ideally, there would have been 15 May days available for competition – the first through the 15th. As they are Sundays, I’ll eliminate May 6 and 13 off the top. I’m going to nix the 14th, too, as it separates both the basketball and baseball round-robin tournaments.
The new baseball schedule has games slated for May 5, 9, 12 and 15, with a possible contest on May 10 – if a playoff is needed to crown a first-round champion. That leaves May 1, 2, 7 and 8 as unused diamond dates. Even with the KIF’s decision not to use the first two days of the month, May 7-8 stand as open slots.
So, move up the already-scheduled dates to crown a first-round champion. Give that team the bye and play a second-round round-robin tournament. That gives more kids additional chances to play, and builds in a buffer for the island’s best team. In laymen’s terms, it would serve justice.
The girls’ basketball situation is nearly identical.
Games are slated for May 3, 5, 8, 12 and 15 with a similar possibility on the 10th. Open slots for the girls are on May 7 and 9. Ample time to move things up and squeeze in a second-round tourney.
I understand that these scenarios might only work under ideal conditions. I understand that a hundred complications could be spun by “those in the know.”
What about the pitchers and their rest? What about tired legs on the girls’ basketball teams?
The OIA asked those questions, too.
“Coaches are really going to have to monitor their pitchers,” Toyama said. “They’re going to have to use a lot of them. There are teams who, if they make it to the finals of our league tournament, could play nine games in 14 days.”
Toyama said that since his league’s schedule was announced, he’s received numerous calls thanking him for fitting in the regular season.
“We wanted to make the season meaningful for kids and fair for all,” he said.
Sports editor Jason Gallic at 245-3681 or mailto:firstname.lastname@example.org