The organizers of the Les Schwab Hoop Challenge on Dec. 9 released the schedule Tuesday, and Kevin Love and Lake Oswego High will be playing. The schedule includes some great games, but no Greater Spokane League teams. Why, you may ask? Because the league is playing 20 – the maximum number of prep regular-season games – league games, leaving no non-league games. The coaches voted for this, and I don't understand it at all.
Yes, I do understand how hard it would be to schedule say, 16, league games with 11 teams in the league (playing everyone once and six teams twice would naturally lead to some inequities). And yes, I understand the desire not to play just 10 league games, to try to keep the league schedule somewhere in the neighborhood of 16 to 20 games (so that year-to-year records could be somewhat comparable).
But the positives of non-league games easily outweigh the difficulties of figuring out how to have them. And those positive aren't just limited to the stronger teams.
Yes, the better teams will be invited to tournaments like the Les Schwab. And yes, they'll have an easier time scheduling. And, yes, they'll get to travel, if they can raise the money to do it. All things the weaker teams may not have available to them.
But the weaker teams get the opportunity to play more games against teams they can compete against. What good does it for one of the weaker GSL girls teams to lose twice to University or LC by 40? Wouldn't it be better to play a team from another league that they match up better with? Then the girls can learn the lessons available from competing to come out on top.
What good comes out of going into four or six or eight games in which you know you have no chance, no matter how well you play, how hard you play? Yes, you are going to have some of those, that is the nature of a league, especially the GSL. But the more you can limit those glorified scrimmages, the more you can replace them with actually competitive games, the more lessons the players can learn.
If you have any thoughts on this, please share them. I'd like to hear them. Just click on the Comments below.
By the way, volleyball – another sport with 20 regular-season dates (EDIT: Actually 16 and a jamboree) – figured out a way to do it.
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