I remember the day I got pitched. It was a voice mail from an out-of-area prep baseball coach, telling me why I should vote his team into that week’s top 10 polls.
He sounded friendly. And I have nothing against a coach talking up his players.
But I never believed in high school polls because high school polls don’t mean a lick.
After all, the beauty of high school sports is that none of that is necessary. Beginning Monday, there will be no cause for debate.
Winter’s postseason gets under way next week with the girls soccer tournaments, and by the time the season is over, we’ll have champions.
Soccer champions. Basketball champions. Wrestling champions. Weightlifting champions.
No myths involved. Rankings mean nothing. Winners will be winners simply because they beat everyone in front of them. How novel.
With folks from all corners of the sporting world lining up to hammer away at the BCS, here comes the high school playoffs, which are so simple, so follow-the-bouncing-ball logical, that they’re genius.
Get this — the teams are seeded based on record. That’s right, if you have a better record than another team in your district, you are ranked HIGHER than them!
In some tournaments, the top seed even gets a bye. How about that? Do well in the regular season, and you’re rewarded by getting one free step toward a championship.
Sounds good to me.
Now let’s get back to planet Earth here. High school sports aren’t in the same stratosphere as that billion-dollar venture known as college sports.
But it is refreshing that for the next few weeks, we can sit back and watch the teams duke it out on the field. It’s fair enough that each team has a shot, yet structured so that the better you do during the season, the better shape you’re in come tournament time.
I’ll be the first to tell you the Florida High School Athletic Association doesn’t run a blemish-free playoff. The champion should be the only team to advance to the regional tournament, and eight-team districts should only allow for four playoff spots.
Those, however, are imperfections we can live with.
So don’t worry about the polls. Forget about where guys like me think you rank as compared to a team from Oldsmar. And if you think your team is the best in its district, well, we’re about to find that out.
Soccer players, wrestlers, weightlifters and basketball players — what happens next is up to you. Computers are out of the equation and opinions don’t mean a whole heck of a lot.
See that team in front of you? All you have to do is better than them.
So simple. So right.
Pretty pitch perfect to me.
John Lembo, prep sports writers, can be reached at 745-7080, ext. 2097.