Some ways to make things better? Maybe

Published 7:00 pm Monday, June 28, 2004

By Staff
There are almost always ways to make things better. Some things are just more glaring than others.
Here are some suggestions with none in any particular order of importance.
Take these for what they're worth. After all, what do I know. I'm just a sports writer,
* The addition of volleyball at W.S. Neal Middle School.
When volleyball was added at W.S. Neal and T.R. Miller High Schools as well as the other Escambia County high schools in 2002, everybody started on the same playing level.
Since then Brewton Middle School has added volleyball at the grade school level to help its player development at the younger level. Each year the development gap will continue to get larger between the schools.
This fall T.R. Miller's incoming freshmen and sophomore players will have had the opportunity to play grade school volleyball. Within two years all of its high school players will have had the chance to go through a grade school program.
This is not meant to be a Brewton-East Brewton comparison. As long as W.S. Neal does not have a grade school program, its players will always be at a disadvantage at the high school level when it competes against the more established and advanced programs.
Sure, W.S. Neal could bring up grade school players to play at the high school level, but again players would be at a disadvantage. They would have to go up against opposing players who are perhaps three to four years older. That can be a tough way to learn for athletes that age.
* The establishment of an Escambia County Tournament for volleyball and softball to go along with current existing tournaments for baseball, boys basketball and girls basketball.
All four schools (T.R. Miller, W.S. Neal, Flomaton and Escambia County) already play each other in volleyball in the regular season anyway. Having them meet in a tournament would put a lot more at stake besides area bragging rights.
A softball tournament between the area schools would set up some matchups that should be taking place anyway. For example, W.S. Neal did not have both Flomaton and Escambia County on its schedule last season.
Having a softball county tournament right before the area tournament would be a good postseason tuneup.
* Make all teams eligible to participate in the state baseball playoffs instead of the just the top two teams from each area field.
Baseball along with football is the only sport that does not allow everybody into its postseason tournament. While the odds of an 0-10 beating a 10-0 team in football are slim and none, anything can happen in baseball. A team that has one good pitcher can cause a lot of headaches for somebody in the postseason if they are given a chance to compete.
Besides that, most areas contain only three or four teams, which means across the state about 32 extra teams to go along with the current 32 teams per class. That is the equivalent of only one extra round.
* For those schools which have a place for individual player fouls on their basketball scoreboards, please use them.
Most schools (I have seen in this part of the country) will list team fouls, but not individual fouls.
Unless you have your own individual scorebook, it's an important part of the game fans lose track of in a hurry.
* Play the Area softball tournament on a Saturday during the daytime instead of on a Friday at night. This spring's Class 3A Area 1 tournament finished up at 12:30 a.m. and it could have been about 2 a.m. if an additional championship game had been necessary.
School activities don't need to be going on after midnight.
* No postseason format is perfect but a football playoff system that allowed 10 teams with losing records into last year's playoffs but kept out a 7-3 Flomaton squad obviously has some flaws.
In fact, 10 additional teams with winning records stayed home for the postseason, while 34 teams with .500 or losing records made the playoffs.
The current system takes the top four teams from each of the eight regions for 32 teams.
How about take the top three teams from each region (for 24 teams) and then take eight additional "wild card" teams in each class based on overall record.
This would put extra importance on non-region games, which for all intent under the current format mean nothing when it comes to postseason qualification.
In case of ties, use something like playoff points from total wins by opponents or total wins against opponents defeated.
* Make all postseason tournaments single elimination. When a team loses, that's it. Second chances are for the regular season.
* * * * * * * * *
The East Brewton Youth Football League will hold its quarterly meeting Tuesday at 6 p.m. at the Agriculture Science Center, which is located behind Southern Pine Electric.