One of Paul McCatrtney’s lesser known songs is “TOO MANY PEOPLE”. A line or two of the lyrics goes like this: “Too many reaching for a piece of cake. Too many waiting for that lucky break.” That’s exactly what we have in playoff football in the state of Kansas. Too many. Too many reaching for a piece of cake. Too many waiting for that lucky break. Too many teams in the playoffs!
Beginning on Thursday evening this week we started the playoffs, began eliminating a lot of the teams that shouldn’t have been there anyway. Grab this number and think on it: 256. That’s how many high school football teams in Kansas made the playoffs. 256! What are we trying to accomplish here anyway, make sure everyone gets a participation ribbon? Let’s make EVERYONE feel good? What are we, the NBA where they play all season just to eliminate a couple of teams?
In 6A there are three teams with 0-8 records. REALLY? They should be in the playoffs? In 5A there is one winless team and five with 1-7 records. In 4A, two winless and two with 1-7 slates. The 3A is the best of the bunch but, still, there are six teams with losing records. Ditto for 2A. 1A has a whopping 13 teams with losing records, two that are 0-8. I could go on and on but in the two divisions of 8-Man football, 11 teams have losing records. Step right up. Everyone gets a participation ribbon and a lollipop!
This rush to make everyone feel good, except a few, might be nice at a birthday party but it is unseemly in organized athletics. Kansas is simply not a big enough state to have this many teams in the playoffs. Of course, that is fueled by the cause, which is, there are TOO MANY classes in Kansas sports. 6A, 5A, 4A, 3A, 2A, 1A, 8-Man I and 8-Man II. Count ‘em, that’s 8, as in at least two and probably three, TOO MANY! Besides, it is not evenly distributed. 6A, 5A and 4A only have 36 schools in each of the respective classes. Meanwhile, 3A and 2A have nearly twice that many with 64 and 1A gets the rest, 117, but heck, who’s counting the little guys in Topeka anyway?
Make championships meaningful. Reward the top teams with the playoffs. Let the rest of them start basketball practice. No participation ribbons please!
— Supposedly this World Series will come down to Dodger pitching vs. Red Sox hitting but sometimes, in the chill of October, those pitching arms that were so limber in July tighten up in the Fall Classsic
— Is the World Series a big deal? TV announcer and former player Joe Garagiola said it this way: “I only wear two rings. My wedding ring and my World Series ring!”
— A 3-5 Valley Center becomes 3-6 against Great Bend. Panthers 38-14
— Hoisington too powerful for Sterling. Cardinals 33, Black Bears 12
— Larned gets their first win of the season, on the road, over the Russell Broncos 21-12
— No, No, K-State. This is that OTHER Oklahoma school. Sooners 39, Wildcats 20
— Here’s an interesting piece of trivia: If KU were to beat TCU Saturday, they would both have 3-5 records. Whoda’ thunk it? Oh, it’s not going to happen? 44-24 for the Horn Toads? Well then, make KU 2-6 and TCU 4-4
— You can’t think about the World Series and baseball without thinking of the personality of the former Cubs announcer, Harry Caray. One of his best was, “What does a Mama Bear on the pill and the World Series have in common? NO CUBS!”
Buddy Tabler is a guest columnist for the Great Bend Tribune and his views don’t necessarily reflect those of the paper. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.