Column: Conference move is good for Dowagiac

Published 8:09 am Wednesday, November 17, 2004

By Staff
Like its previous decision to leave the Lakeland Athletic Conference and join the Southwest Michigan Athletic Conference (SMAC), the Dowagiac Board of Education had to do what was best for its student-athletes.
There was no looking back after that decision was made nearly fivesyears ago.
Dowagiac was facing possibly being forced out of the Lakeland Conference and would have to play as an independent in all sports - not just football.
I can still remember the nightmares that our school officials faced with finding opponents around the state of Michigan, northern Indiana and even Ohio.
I remember the long Friday nights of following the Chieftains to Bowling Green, Ohio, Saginaw, Lansing and Detroit.
I do not miss those days, believe me.
While I thought Dowagiac would struggle to compete in such a big league, I have come to realize that joining the SMAC was a good thing for the Chieftain athletic teams.
While Dowagiac did not win many division or conference championships, in fact it won just two crowns - one in softball and one in girls' golf - it was able to compete at a higher level in the state tournaments.
That being said, I also believe that the SMAC was not good for the future of Dowagiac athletics.
Being more competitive in the state tournament doesn't mean Dowagiac was going to win a lot of state championships.
Not being able to win many division titles in the SMAC, meant that Dowagiac athletes did not get the recognition they deserved as all-division players.
That will all change when the Chieftains join the Wolverine Conference in 2006-07.
Dowagiac is making the right move because it will be able to compete for conference championships and it will have athletes named to the all-league squads.
This is the right move because it will help all of Dowagiac's athletes, not just its elite athletes.
High school athletes can be proud of winning a conference championship or being named all-conference.
Those opportunities were few and far between for Dowagiac in the SMAC.
The move Dowagiac is about to make is a good choice.