Everybody in our coverage area with any interest in Seguin, Navarro, or Marion athletics loves to talk about UIL district realignment and reclassification when it happens every two years. Each community spends the weeks leading up to it buzzing about the possibilities, and the weeks after either lamenting or applauding the outcome. Everybody who speculated that Seguin would move back up to 5A, Navarro would finally jump to 3A, and Marion would drop to 2A gets to say “I told you so”, as if making an accurate prediction based on enrolment numbers is a sign of one’s “expertise.”
I guess I should have a more enthusiastic attitude about the topic as a journalist, since it is such a newsworthy event in our area, but at the end of the day, I share the sentiment so efficiently expressed by Seguin head football coach and athletic director Jim Carson when asked for his reaction on our KWED interview Monday morning:
“It is what it is.”
Oh, there are some in my line of work who spend every waking hour coming up with blueprints and elaborate plans to “save the UIL from itself” and eternally “solve” the dilemma of how to place schools in the most equitable competitive settings. One of them worked for that other media outlet in Seguin and devoted a longwinded…err….thoroughly detailed (trying to be nice) column to it a couple of years ago.
I didn’t get into this business to be a lobbyist or a political activist. I got into it to cover and broadcast games, and to communicate the action, drama, competitive ebbs and flows, and ultimate results of those games to fans who care about them. Be it through live play-by-play, five-minute sportscasts, one-minute audio wraps, interviews with coaches and players, or printed stories – that’s why I’m here, and that’s it.
So my attitude toward realignment has, and always will be: Put them in the classificiation their enrolment says they belong in, put them in whatever district you put them in, give me the schedule, and I’ll go cover or broadcast the games. I honestly have no emotion about it beyond that.
Sure, you’d like to see the result come out with some equity in terms of travel (Seguin made out REALLY well in that regard this time…Marion and Navarro will have a few late Tuesday night trips in non-football sports ), and you’d like to see your favorite team avoid that “gauntlet” district in which every team is a powerhouse (That doesn’t change for Seguin…27-4A was a buzz-saw, so is the new 25-5A they’re entering), but it just isn’t possible to make things that equitable for every school in the state.
As much as some like to bash the UIL – I know I’ve done it a time or two – their alignment and classification system will always be the product of HUMAN thought, which means it will always be flawed to some degree. Perfection simply isn’t attainable in an endeavor like this, and the UIL faces a greater challenge than any other similar governing body in any other state. Texas is so geographically vast and has so many schools of varying sizes spread throughout its expanse that it would be impossible to create equitable travel and competition scenarios for all of its members from 1A to 5A. Impossible.
So to me, the healthiest attitude on realignment is Coach Carson’s: “It is what it is.” He also added that “our foes are powerful, so that gives us an opportunity to do some great things.” In a new District 25-5A that includes the Matadors, New Braunfels, San Antonio-Wagner, Cibolo-Steele, Converse-Judson, and San Marcos, that’s an accurate assessment.
One final thought: I, for one, love the fact that Seguin’s oldest historic rival, New Braunfels, will be a district opponent in all sports for the next two years. The thought of possibly broadcasting some late-season “Matadors vs. Unicorns” games with playoff implications in basketball, baseball, softball, or volleyball is pretty exciting. The rivalry between the schools seems to be understated in sports other than football, and that won’t be the case during the ’10-’11 and ’11-’12 seasons.