Speed kills


February 23, 2001|By CHRIS GRANT, Sports Editor

During my time in the Imperial Valley I have become accustomed to one thing; early exits from the playoffs for local high school sports teams.

Now before y'all decide to have a lynching or tar and feather the incumbent sports editor, let me say there is the occasional exception.

Yes, Central's football team was quite good a few years back, as was the Southwest High School boys soccer team. I also know about just how good our local wrestlers and cross country runners can be. But these can be the exceptions that prove the rule, for the fact of the matter is that our local teams usually do not fare well when it comes playoff time.

And I know the reason.

As I sat in the Brawley Union High School gymnasium on Wednesday night watching the scrappy Wildcats attempt to stave off a first-round defeat that eventually overcame them, something became quite apparent, that something being that the tempo of this game was much different than the pace of every single high school basketball game I had watched this year (and believe me when I say I've watched a few).


The team from San Diego (University City to be exact) attacked Brawley in a manner that the Wildcats were certainly not accustomed to. And that was ultimately Brawley's undoing. I dare say the Wildcats, much like every other local team, did not get enough regular-season experience against this up-tempo style of play. They certainly didn't get enough experience to be successful in the playoffs.

I cannot honestly tell you that the team from San Diego was better than the boys from Brawley. The certainly weren't better basketball players, nor were they better coached. They were not taller and I don't think they were stronger, either. What they were was faster and much, much quicker and it was this quickness that led them to the win.

It is also this quickness, this up-tempo, in-your-face brand of basketball that must prove a shock to the system of every local team that enters the playoffs.

Allow me to offer an analogy. Let us imagine local basketball teams are records. You remember records, don't you? Those big black things that were made extinct by compact discs. OK, so each local team is a record and they all spin at 33 and 1/3 rpm Now this is fine for these teams as long as they are competing against each other. However, when they enter the playoffs and are being forced to compete with teams that spin at 45 rpm they hardly stand much of a chance.

I'm not sure what the solution to this problem could be, but unless it is solved I don't see how any local team will ever fare well in the playoffs. There is simply no way to take a team used to playing at 33 and 1/3 and s3peeding it up in a week of practices. Sure, you might try to accomplish this, but all you're going to end up with is a record that is out of tune.

While I'm ranting I'd also like to point out one other atrocity. I stopped by the local 7-Eleven the other day to pick up some water and was shocked to find a pack of baseball cards costs $4.32.

"When did this happen?" I demanded of the man behind the counter, but he didn't seem to know, or care for that matter.

When I was a kid I used to buy four packs of cards for a dollar. I wonder how today's kids afford these things? Hmm, perhaps there are payment plans.

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