Saturday, February 21, 2009

Why No Suburban Tournaments?

Yesterday Detroit Pershing took down fellow eastside rival Detroit Southeastern to win their first Public School League (PSL) championship in boys' basketball since the 1996 Doughboys. The Catholic High School League (CHSL) will play their girls' championship this weekend and their boys' title tilts next weekend.

Make no mistake, these are great traditions and any suburbanite who's never attended at least one of these tournament championships is missing out on a great day of basketball. It's a great thrill for the players, coaches and fans of the schools participating. It's a healthy exercise in fellowship within your community of schools. Finally, championship tournaments create buzz about school sports, and when is that not a good thing?

So why don't the bigger suburban leagues have a championship tournament? The PSL and Catholic League aren't exactly using dollar bills for scrap paper these days. In fact, these two leagues are hit harder than any of the suburban public schools by the recent economic hardship. ThePSL has had nearly 100 tournaments since 1904 and the Catholic League is less than a generation behind their PSL soul mate.

The suburbs? Zero and counting. In New York City, many of the public schools don't even bother to participate in the New York state tournament because the NYC title means so much more. Thankfully, nearly all our schools participate in the annual MHSAA tournament. We could have the best of both worlds -- why don't we?

Here's the facts. Suburban schools, specifically the Oakland Activities Association (OAA) and Macomb Area Conference (MAC), have a number of schools that could host games as neutral sites. Parking, seating, lockers and security in some of these modern schools is not an issue like it is in the parochial and Detroit public schools.

Let me take it a step further: How much fun would it be to include the OAA and MAC champions in an Operation Friendship Final Four? Are you kidding? A potential quarterfinal, semifinal or finals preview? Clarkston v. Pershing? How fast can you spell 'sold out' on the eve of the MHSAA tournament? Would it not be a great opportunity to share the respective communities with one another through school sports? There's great life lessons to be learned here through b-ball.

Unfortunately, it looks like the OAA could be a candidate to dissolve before an idea like a conference tournament, much less a super-conference Final Four, even takes hold. Maybe a tournament could help hold theOAA together. The MAC isn't going anywhere soon.

I hope someone grabs the ball and get things rolling.

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1 Comments:

Anonymous Anonymous said...

Because who would follow the failing Detroit City league which as not won a game championship game in 13 years. OAA and MAL as in the last 13 year and are some of the hard leagues to played in. Most detroit city school can beat the sub.

February 25, 2009 at 5:13 PM 

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