New Year's Resolutions are boring. Everyone does them. They last in our psyche until March at the latest, and then they're gone and forgotten.
Instead, VarsityXtra offers a wish list for Arizona high school sports in 2012: Five overlying arches hopeful to happen this year. They're things none of us can control, but would like to see sprouted anew.
It's our pipedream for the future, and if it fails, don't blame us. We're merely the messengers.
Appeals to be made
This one has already been discussed for the block beginning in 2013, and we'll know for sure before the end of 2012. Whether it comes to fruition remains to be seen, but no doubt there are logistical issues here that may or may not be manageable (scheduling, travel for smaller schools, an equal number of schools in each division, moving from 8-man football to 11-man football, etc.).
A group or AIA committee would meet once before two-year block schedules are determined to vote on each school that presents its case. It has to be about competitiveness over the past, say, five years, plus finances and socio-economics.
Again, it's only an opportunity to appeal. No guarantees, but at least it would give some schools a chance.
By the time playoff seedings are unveiled in every sport, it is clear who received the best draw. And when it's not the top seed, there's something wrong. There have been too many times when a mediocre team gets an easy draw and cakewalks to the semifinals instead of being an underdog in the quarterfinals, as it should be.
The power point system can't use common sense. Use power points to determine postseason berths, but let a committee decide which team goes where to insure the best chance at getting the four best teams to the semifinals. It's too often that two of the better teams in the state face off early in state tournaments (namely last year's second round between Corona del Sol and Mountain View in boys basketball).
(More) Flexible scheduling
There's already been talk of moving Chaparral vs. Saguaro football to the first game of the season to avoid what John Sanders did last year in sitting out his key players to avoid injury before the playoffs. At some level the computerized scheduling makes some sense, but for many sports outside football, it's a mess.
Geography, crammed game dates and the (mostly) uselessness of Sections has left teams scrambling to play three games in three days, or five in a week.
The toll supposedly being saved through travel costs and missing school has been re-directed towards jam-packed schedules and kids being fatigued between sports and school.
Bring back the old days
This will be a most interesting winter as three East Valley schools with commonalities look to hire new football coaches: Dobson, Westwood and Gilbert. There's a cycle that's emerged in these and similar locales: Longtime programs that had success years ago and have struggled since. The sources behind these struggles (open enrollment, economics, family situations, budget cuts) have been chronicled ad nauseam. The hope is at least one (if not all three) eventually knock these hires out of the park. And does John Sanders, who was recently fired by Saguaro, fit into the equation? A scene overflowing with Chandler, Scottsdale and Ahwatukee schools is fine, but, despite a lot of things working against them, we'd love to see Mesa and/or Gilbert schools return to relevance.
Can't we get along?
As Homer Simpson said: "It's easier to blame yourself but it's even easier to blame others." That's not exactly Parent-of-the-Year advice. Try this instead of a mutiny: Stop blaming coaches and athletic directors for lack of playing time and college scholarship offers. Stop accusing them of being biased or having the gall to use discipline. The kid who receives a full-ride to college next year because their name was in print the most will be the first. If you really think a rebellion is in order, you should go "Undercover Boss" on the coach and A.D. first. A typical day or week in their shoes ought to scare you straight.