Play the game, not the numbers

Published 12:46 pm Saturday, August 22, 2009

Private school football has always been a tenuous situation.

Teams come and go at the eight-man level. You have teams that have too many students enrolled in their high school to be competing at that level, but they do so in an effort to win.

This year has been particularly tough with Oak Ridge dropping out in the summer and then Cresset Christian Academy folding its eight-man tent late last week. The last team that dropped out caused the entire football schedule to be retooled the week some teams were supposed to have played.

While it’s understandable that sometimes things don’t work out as planned, it is sad when there have been many cases (not saying these are two of them) when schools could have played, but folded the program rather than having a losing season.

There was one year when Northeast Academy started the season with 11 players on an eight-man team. Three years ago, Mike Dail raided his junior varsity club just to have enough to field a varsity team. Both clubs suffered through a tough season on the win-loss sheet.

Both schools, however, taught their kids that you always give your best, you live up to your commitments and that athletics means more than winning and losing. They taught their players and their students valuable life lessons.

We understand that winning and losing is part of playing the game, but it is not the only part. We wish more of the private schools who have coasted in and out of the eight-man league would understand. It would be better for those who have played there for a long time and plan to continue.