The ‘What If?’ Series Part IV:
What if the Boys/Girls State Tournaments Were Held On Different Weekends?
By Aaron Brown
IL -- The state tournament weekend is one of the most fun and exciting of
the water polo season. With teams playing games with everything on the line,
the crowds filling the bleachers supporting their team, and the best players
and teams in the state getting to showcase their talent to the biggest
audience they have seen all season, that is only natural.
However, I have always wondered what it would be like if
the boys' and girls' state tournaments could take place on different
weekends and the tournaments could be expanded.
Forget about the logistics, the costs, or anything else that
would stand in the way of this question for a minute; after all, this is a
‘What If’ article. Splitting the tournament into two separate weekends
would give more players and teams a chance to enjoy the spotlight,
showcase their talents, and be rewarded for all of their hard work and
effort throughout a long three-month season.
Here is my 'What If?' proposal. Sectional quarterfinal and
semifinal games would be played at each sectional site. The top two teams
from each sectional would advance to the state tournament, which would
consist of 16 total teams. This would be similar to how a sport like high
school basketball plays regional games at one site, sectionals at another,
and the Supersectional games at a much bigger site (usually at a major
university in front of a much larger crowd).
The sectional final games would instead take place at the state tournament
site on Wednesday and Thursday night, with four contests per evening. What
this would do is give more teams and players a chance to play in front of
a large crowd in what could be the final game of their high school season.
This would replace the current setup, which features eight sectional final
games taking place at eight different sites at almost the same time on the
same day. I know just from covering the sport that one of the most
difficult decisions I face each season is deciding which sectional final
game to attend, since I can only see one out of eight games. And again, it
would be important for many people to see the last game of the season for
eight teams at one neutral site instead of all over the state.
That means that the state quarterfinals would take place on Friday night,
with the semifinals and final games being played on Saturday. Instead of a
marathon session of games on the weekend, the games would be spaced out a
bit and the boys and girls would get their due, playing on separate
weekends like most other sports in the state of Illinois currently do.
The main advantage with this proposal is that the boys and girls that work
so hard at this sport would get their chance to shine on separate
weekends. No one would be getting overshadowed. More people get to see the best teams
from around the state. And fewer teams would feel slighted by the
sectional draw; in this proposal, even if the #1 and #2 teams are in the
same sectional, at least they would get to play at the state tournament in
front of a large crowd instead of at a sectional site which is difficult
for everyone to see.
Comments or thoughts? Do you feel like the current
setup is ideal or is there something you think should change? Send an
e-mail to firstname.lastname@example.org
so we can hear from you.