Archive for Tuesday, December 24, 2002

Chinstraps and Mouthpieces: Schedule change could help avoid late evenings

December 24, 2002

Tonganoxie basketball games Friday might as well have been played on the West Coast.

A Dodgers-Giants baseball night game usually starts about 9 p.m. central standard time.

The Chieftains girls game didn't start much earlier than that.

Tonganoxie was supposed to start at Mill Valley around 6:30 p.m., but they had to wait for the junior varsity boys game, which extended into three overtimes before Mill Valley escaped with the win.

When the girls game started, it was closer to 8 p.m. Throw in 49 fouls and 56 free throws, and the sports night was nearly burning the midnight oil.

The boys varsity game wasn't abnormally long, but the clock was nearing Saturday morning when the Tonganoxie team loaded the bus for a trip back home.

It's probably quite the task making sure six games run smoothly in an evening (two freshman, two junior varsity and two varsity), but perhaps an earlier start or three games in each gymnasium would suffice.

Who would have thought a junior varsity game would go into three extra stanzas, or that a barrel of fouls would be called in the girls varsity game.

The junior varsity game was an extra treat, but games usually shouldn't end past 9:30 p.m. or even 10 p.m. A 6 p.m./7:30 p.m. format, which Tonganoxie and many other schools use, seems to be the best time slot. Judging by the school calendar, Mill Valley and Santa Fe Trail are the only known schools with the later starts. A trip to Santa Fe Trail near Carbondale will conclude with a long trip back to Tonganoxie.

At least these games are only on Fridays. Tuesday games always start at 6 p.m. and 7:30 p.m. But even that format seems a little strange. Closer teams play on Tuesdays, but the boys play at one site, and the girls play at the other.

The format might be more economical in some fashion, although two teams have to travel instead of just one school. And although 5A and 6A schools use the scheduling, Tonganoxie isn't quite in that realm. Parents and fans who probably have interest in both teams could see both games each night instead of only one on Tuesdays.

Friday's time crunch might not have affected many people, as students were out for winter break and it was almost the weekend. Nonetheless, it can still put a strain on those involved.

If schools don't have any more time issues such as Mill Valley experienced, then they probably could afford leaving their 6:30 p.m./8 p.m. starts intact.

Any more problems, though, and fans looking for a score or story from last night's basketball game could find itself hanging with the Dodgers-Giants game story and results -- a day late.

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