Prep Rally | Good riddance, alternating sites for district championships

jlembo@bradenton.comJanuary 24, 2014 

Goodbye, rotating championship sites.

We hardly knew you, but we didn't love you.

You'll be missed as much as a migraine or chicken pox.

Don't come back anytime soon.

Starting this school year, district championship games now are awarded to teams with the highest seed, at least locally.

This is the way it should be, though this wasn't the way it was when satellite sites first began a few years ago.

If a district's contingent consisted of teams from more than one county, such as Manatee and Pinellas, the championship game rotated between the two.

That meant that if a Pinellas County team made the final and it was Pinellas County's turn to host, then the final would be played in Pinellas County.

Didn't matter if the Pinellas team was a No. 5 seed and the Manatee County team was seeded No. 1.

It wasn't fair.

Now, it's fair.

The biggest benefit of playing a district tournament at different sites is it adds that much more flavor to the regular season. Teams aren't just playing for better seeds; they're playing for home games.

And getting to host a district championship game is a big deal and an even bigger reward for being the best team in your district from pillar to post.

If you're the best, you deserve to host the biggest game.

Some districts have stuck to the one-site tournaments, which is fine, especially in the case of Saint Stephen's itching to use its terrific new facility. (Neighboring Bayshore and Southeast having to travel all the way to Tampa to play a district quarterfinal Tuesday night? That's a different matter altogether).

But speaking in terms of the other districts and the floating sites, this is the way it should be.

You don't want to travel for the championship game? You want it played in your stadium or inside your gym?

Fine. Win your district games and you get to stay home while playing for atitle.

Of course, being a No. 1 seed doesn't guarantee you anything, and upsets and underdogs knocking out he favorites are part of the reasons sports are so great.

But being a No. 1 seed now guarantees that if you keep winning, you keep hosting.

That's the way it should be.

Thankfully, that's the way it is.

John Lembo, sports writer, can be reached at 745-7057.Follow him at Twitter@JohnLembo1878.

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