The first, and to this date only, challenge to the Upper Chesapeake Bay Athletic Conference's title games in its near 10-year history was brought about last week by the Harford Tech girls lacrosse team.
I was fortunate to be the one to cover the story and in doing so, I have waited to lay out any feelings and or thoughts in print. While doing that, I have received my share of emails and I've watched and read most of the comments many of you made on our website at http://www.exploreharford.com.
As with anything written and said, everyone is entitled to their opinion. That said, here are a few opinions and facts of mine.
Firstly, many have looked at this issue and taken it to mean that Tech was afraid to play in the game because of the David vs. Goliath mentality, citing NCAA March Madness as an answer in a handful of cases.
The fact is, Tech wasn't afraid of losing another UCBAC final in lopsided fashion. Better yet, they, the players and coaches with the support of administration, stood up against the ideas of the game for what it is. A bad idea.
I wonder why it took this long for this to rear its head?
Well, in the days since the main story broke, I learned in my follow-up story that this championship structure was questioned before. Well, sort of.
It seems there was a question posed some two or three years ago to all coaches in the UCBAC in reference to the title game itself. The vote was in favor of keeping it the way it is. UCBAC commissioner Bob Slagle was honest when he said he couldn't remember the exact vote totals, but it was something like 50-some to 40-some. Maybe 55-45? Or was it 52-48?
I know this for sure. That vote was far closer than the records of UCBAC title game winners, favoring Chesapeake (upper) Division winners to Susquehanna (lower) Division winners. I also don't have exact totals, but figuring there have been 100 or so of these games dating back to 2004, I believe the results are 90-some to single digits.
To think that the underdog could never win is preposterous. That's why any of us play and watch the games. Of course, the underdog in all these cases is whoever the Susquehanna champion might be.
What other league do you know of that pits its best team against, uh, its eighth or ninth best team?
Some have questioned why Tech was back in the Susquehanna Division again this year after winning the title a year ago. Well, that's a good question with an even better answer.
Tech, which edged Havre de Grace in the final minute to win the Susquehanna last year, graduated a boatload of seniors. Havre de Grace, on the other hand, graduated just a couple, so logic says, of two very matched teams, which is better suited to make a move up for the next year?
The case was easy. Havre de Grace was in better shape to contend this year and though they finished league play 1-5, they weren't last. Tech's Susquehanna win was not because they sandbagged. The division was fairly weak. In all, the UCBAC did the right thing in this case.
While many are saying just play the game, I ask, why? What's the point?
Too often the game is played a day or two ahead of a first-round playoff game. Injuries are part of any game, but what happens when someone's key player, on either team, goes down in this meaningless game?
It's going to happen. Not if, but when.
There are other ways to provide an UCBAC champion. Hopefully, the issues will be sorted out and we can all move in a positive direction.
As for Tech's stand in this matter. I agree with it. They can strip away your Susquehanna title, but they can't take away your integrity.