High school sports seasons are many things. How success and failure are viewed often depends on the eye of the beholder.
No matter your viewpoint, consider this analogy. Sports seasons are like fingerprints, they leave an indelible impression and the 2018-19 high school sports year in Louisiana was no exception. The same will be true of 2019-20.
There is one thing I take comfort in — I can learn something from high school sports every year. But naturally, there are concerns moving forward. Let me explain both, starting with three things I learned in 2018-19:
Track can be a fashion statement.
When the final day of the Allstate Sugar Bowl/LHSAA Track Championship began at LSU early last month, the focus was on the weather worries. There were combined heats of distance races and some relays, which worked fine.
Two fashion statements stood out. The Scotlandville boys wore a different set of matching tights and shirt for each relay, including a pink version for the 4x100 meters relay.
West Feliciana sprinter Kam Jackson changed from the Saints tradition blue uniform after the 4x200 relay, opting instead for a grey uniform with blue logos, etc. Was all this a distraction, like those mixed races? No, it really was fun to see.
Yes, there is two-handed bowling.
After listening to Catholic coach Robin Deck and bowler Philip O’Neill explain it, I searched for and watched a video of two-handed pro bowler Jason Belmonte.
Because of Belmonte, two-handed bowling is no longer an odd thing, it is an “in” thing. Who says a sport can’t evolve?
You can make a big event, even bigger and better.
The Advocate’s Star of Stars event honoring high school athletes in Baton Rouge is nothing new. Since taking the now 34-year-old event public in 2018, it has grown by leaps and bounds. There were nervous moments before and during the event May 20 at the L’Auberge Events Center.
Watching the reactions of the athletes and others on hand as the night unfolded made it worthwhile. Now the plan for 2020 begins.
Concerns? Yes, I have a few as the 2019-20 LHSAA sports year draws closer. Many will be answered when the executive committee holds its summer meeting the week of June 10. Of course, first comes the LHSCA convention/coaches clinic set for Monday and Tuesday in Shreveport.
Will there be site changes for any LHSAA championship events, like basketball and wrestling, which come up for bid? We’ll have those answers in a couple of weeks.
Would pending action in the legislature that could make it a crime to harass a youth sports official also impact high school sports?
Many people think this is too punitive and something legislators should stay away from. We will have to see how this plays out.
Yes, I think pay raises for teachers should be a top priority. Like it or not, the culture we have now is one in which fans/parents believe they have the right to harass officials and coaches at any game. Something has got to give before there is a tragedy none of us want.
Finally, what in the heck is going to happen with all the separate select LHSAA championships approved in January?
My short answer — I have no idea. LHSAA member principals voted to give select schools the OK to host their own title events for football, basketball, baseball and softball. And yes, we may learning more at the LHSAA summer meeting.
Will there be football title games at four different select school sites? Or will some be held together at some yet-to-be named site the select schools engage? What about basketball … 24 sites? Ditto that for baseball and softball.
Inquiring minds want to know and the clock is ticking. Expect another indelible high school year ahead.