Published 8:32 pm Wednesday, May 3, 2006
By By BRUCE HIXON – Sports Editor
Fans who attended this past weekend's T.R. Miller-Northside second-round playoff series played probably received a shock.
A price shock, that is.
A fan which attended the complete three-game series was charged $15. That figure included $9 for Friday's doubleheader session and another $6 for Saturday's decisive third game.
Fans upset with those charges need not direct their frustration towards T.R. Miller High School. Those admission figures are set by the Alabama High School Athletic Association.
The financial hit was even harder on Northside fans, who had to make a 500-mile round trip. If a person's vehicle got 30 miles per gallon, it would take 16.6 gallons of gas to make the trip. With gas at $2.90 a gallon, that comes out to another $48.
Most, if not all, of Northside's fans stayed in Brewton or the immediate area Friday night so they had motel and meal charges on top of that. Those charges probably approached or exceeded $200 by the time the weekend was over. That is a pretty expensive weekend of watching high school baseball.
T.R. Miller fans will get a dose of those extra charges this weekend when the Tigers play at Montgomery Academy in the quarterfinals. While Montgomery is about half the distance Northside is from Brewton, the mileage is the same if the series goes to a second day and T.R. Miller fans have to make two trips.
While the AHSAA has made watching the state baseball playoffs an expensive venture, it has made watching the state track meet a lengthy one.
For several years the AHSAA has divided the state track meet into two locations. Three classes go to one site and three more go to another site. This year all six
classes compete in Birmingham.
Class 1A, 2A and 3A will have their preliminaries Thursday afternoon and evening. Finals will be Friday.
The puzzling part of this aspect is the finals do not start until 3:30 p.m. Friday and do not conclude until 10:10 p.m. with the awards ceremony. The first part of Friday will be used to hold the preliminaries for Classes 4A, 5A and 6A. Finals for those classes are Saturday.
Another postseason oddity is the tennis format.
For example, last week T.R. Miller's Karl Kast won his singles division at the sectional. Kast's “reward” is he stays home for the state tournament. Meanwhile the Spanish Fort opponent Kast defeated gets to play in the state tournament because his team was second.
This strange oddity is caused by the fact the AHSAA takes the two teams that scored the most points at the sectional meet to the state tournament regardless of individual performance.
Tennis is an individual sport and should be structured similar to sports such as track and golf. Track takes its top performers from its sectional. Those performers then have a chance to score points for their team at the state meet so there is still a team aspect involved. Golf has team qualifiers, but it also has individual qualifiers.
Tennis should also take its top performers from sectional tournament play to the state tournament. Players in individual sports should not be allowed to ride the performance of other players to the state tournament.