All-league process is laughable
Everyone gets a trophy and no one’s feelings get hurt.
It’s the new phenomenon sweeping the country, specifically in prep and youth sports. In the latest installment, the Northern Division I-A football all-league selections joined the circus.
To be clear, this is not a shot at any youth or prep athlete, but one across the bow of the adults running this farce. Also, the media does not vote for DI-A all-league players in any sport.
The ridiculous manner in which coaches select these teams must stop. It’s a joke, lacks credibility and every player who suits up is not an all-league player.
While most athletes work and study hard, perform their best on the field, many are just not all-league caliber players.
There is no shame in that. They come out and help their team perform to the best of their collective ability. But that does not give the right to coaches to recklessly push for their kids to be on an all-league team.
For example, this year’s all-league teams feature 13 players on offense and defense (does not include special teams) for the first team. Only 11 players can actually suit up during game, by the way.
The second team offense went with 14 selections, while the defense only went with 12.
But wait, there’s more. The honorable mention features an unbelievable 75 players.
Seriously. It’s not a joke, but really it is.
I guess 33 players (11 for first, second and honorable mention) for offense and defense plus nine special teams players is too much to ask.
Another caveat, meanwhile, is the absence of the league’s top honorees from the first team. Are they not the definition of what a first-team all-league player is about?
The league MVP, offensive, defensive and lineman of the year cannot be a first teamers. Just another way to move players up the ladder.
Of the 10 teams in the league, eight quarterbacks were honored, four as honorable mention. Really, eight?
The running back selections went with 16 total, while just about any lineman who took a snap earned some sort of recognition. I guess a second-team kicker wasn’t in the cards, but that was probably a mistake of leaving someone off the list.
I’m sure an email chain is floating around somewhere about that one.
Other sports don’t fall into this line of thinking. Good thing, or every basketball player would have some sort of an all-league patch on his or her letterman’s jacket.
Now, of course coaches want to back their players, and they should, but not at the expense of another player who is better or just for the sake of landing as many kids on the all-league teams as possible.
What ever happened to earning an award? You know, by displaying athletic prowess on the field.
Despite the gluttony of “honorees,” why are prep and youth athletes not allowed to earn anything these days? What ever happened to honoring those who were a step above and displayed consistent greatness.
Sure, some feelings may be hurt, but too bad. Work harder, get better. It’s what truly great athletes do.
Take it as a slight, carry that chip on your shoulder and prove being left off an all-league list was a bad decision by the voters.
Don’t we have enough politics in life? Let’s go in the opposite direction, you know, with dignity and respect for a beloved game.
It’s time to bring back the honor in the process.
Steve Puterski is the sports editor for the Lahontan Valley News and can be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org.