Column: Walk a mile in their shoes

Published 11:15 am Friday, November 9, 2007

By Staff
There are some things you can count on like death and taxes.
One of the things I can count on each year is being amazed when I receive all-conference teams from various leagues.
The reason I am amazed you ask?
Let me tell you.
Each year, when I look over the names on the all-conference teams, I am often times left scratching my head.
Players, who made little or no impact in the game I saw, are listed above players I thought had been outstanding.
Now I am not just talking about our local players.
I am talking about players in general.
When you are looking at covering a game, you tend to try and get an idea of who are the best players on each team.
Sometimes I agree with the assessment of those players, while at other times I wonder what in the world they were talking about.
You might say that it's not fair for me to just judge a player on just one game. After all, he could have had an off night.
True, but don't the coaches who vote for the all-conference teams live in the same type of vacuum that I do?
Aren't they asked to make a judgement on a player based on one game?
Coaches get to rely on other coaches for information about those players.
Any good coach will pump up his kid over another one. That is his job.
Of the coaches I work with on a regular basis, I am sure they are straight shooters.
Like the line from the movie Crimson Tide, "if he is lying this would be the first I have heard of it."
Our coaches do a great job of getting our kids recognition at the conference, division, district, regional and state levels.
But it's a crap shoot at best when it comes to selecting these teams.
I have been never sat in on an all-conference or division meeting, but I have sat in on meetings at the state level.
All-district meetings used to have a rule that if a coach didn't attend the meeting, his players were not eligible to be nominated.
All-district is the first step in the all-state process.
It's been many years since I sat in on one of those meetings, so I don't know if they have changed those rules.
I also have had the honor of helping select all-state teams for both football and basketball back in the days of the United Press International.
I can tell you that it was an eye-opening experience for me.
Sports writers from around the state would converge, usually around the Lansing area, to pick these teams.
While many people would come prepared, others seemed unprepared for the task.
I can vividly remember someone from the Detroit area bringing a suitcase full of documentation for the players he wanted on the all-state team.
Some of those players were a joke. But because they played at "bigger" schools, their nominations were given greater weight than those of more deserving players.
The politics of the thing was amazing.
But in the end, I think everyone does the best job they can to get the best players there are named to these teams.
So why I am often amazed by some of the selections, I also know just how tough it is to make those picks.
So if you are inclined to complain about who was picked by the coaches, perhaps you should try to walk a mile in their shoes.
I know I have.