Saturday, January 5, 2013

Against all odds: Gridiron disparity

I’m not going to spend a lot of time researching the subject because I know in the scheme of things what goes on in the classroom is far more important.

But it seems to me that the time has come for the Ohio High School Athletic Assn. to move parochial schools into their own playoff divisions, at least for football and basketball.

The Dover Tornadoes football team’s defeat last week at the hands of Akron’s St. Vincent-St. Mary underscores the disparity of talent available to public schools as opposed to private schools, in this case the Catholic St. V-St. M, which can recruit the finest athletes from neighboring states if they want.

St. V-St. M dominated the Tornadoes from the opening kickoff in the regional final playoff game at Paul Brown Stadium in Massillon to the 48-13 conclusion.

This year might be different for sure, but parochial (Catholic) schools generally dominate high school playoffs year after year.

This year might be different because one northeast Ohio public school – Mentor – beat two parochial powers – Cleveland St. Ignatius and Lakewood St. Edward – in successive playoff weeks, while another public school – Toledo Whitmer – knocked off Mentor the next week.

(Mentor is no average public school, by the way. It’s the second largest public school in Ohio.)

Who’d have believed that scenario? And it’s just the kind of thing the status quo group points to when the argument for public/parochial separation is launched.

Most of the people I talked to who saw the Dover-St. V.-St. M game said Dover was beaten at any number of positions by kids who undoubtedly will go on to play Division 1 college ball.

OK, to belabor the point makes the argument sound as if it’s full of sour grapes. All I ask is this: Someone please do the math. How often do parochial schools take home the hardware compared to public schools? And based on that math, if it shows what I think it will show, is it time to reconfigure the playoffs so the kids in public schools can experience the thrill of victory on an even playing field?

Over the Thanksgiving holiday, I had the opportunity to see “Lincoln,” the outstanding motion picture from Steven Spielberg that stars Daniel Day-Lewis.

I deem it to be one of those “Every American Ought To See It” motion pictures. “Saving Private Ryan” is another one.

“Lincoln” covers the four months leading up to the assassination and underscores the horrible cost of the American Civil War brought on by arguments over states’ rights and the legality and morality of slavery.

Last time I checked, the movie was not playing in New Philadelphia, so a trip to Canton or beyond is in order.

Tuscarawas County’s election finally was certified on Nov. 26, 2012. That’s 20 days after Election Day and at least a week or so after Cuyahoga County certified its election results. I think even Florida was quicker.

Nice job, Tuscarawas County.

In case you missed it, the Atwood Lake Resort and Conference Center is back. That might be an understatement.

Manager Gary Miller reported that there were more than 700 reservations for Thanksgiving dinner. The lounge is open and a good number of rooms have been renovated.

Having the “lodge” open again certainly will help the Atwood Lake region. I hope in the long run it can be sustained with its new strategy and cash infusion.

I’m waiting anxiously for the renovations of the Par 3 golf course (2013) and 18-hole course (2014-15).

Nice job, Carroll County.

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