High school county championship games for many of the fall sports are upon us, and while they might bring extra excitement and another good game to watch, I have come across some situations over the years that provide an argument as to why they should not be played.
One example that stands out came in 2006 when Howard County first introduced championship games and Centennial and Glenelg reached the inaugural field hockey title game. Centennial came into the game with a perfect record and had already beaten Glenelg during the season. But on that day, the Gladiators came away with a tightly contested upset win, leaving with big smiles on their faces and the championship plaque.
The Eagles were obviously distraught and felt their season-long excellence went for naught because of an extra game that in years past they would not have had to play. Centennial finished in first place with the best regular-season record. Why give the team with the lesser record a one-time opportunity to make up for lost time?
Over the years, I've heard a mixed bag from coaches on whether they like their respective teams playing in county championship games. For some, it's just another game that gets in the way of preparing for a team's ultimate goal: winning a state championship.
One final factor that figures in is injuries that occur during these highly intense games, often leaving teams not at their best for the region and state playoff run.