Sad things first:
Muskogee has lost a really great woman this past week.
Nita Pierce was the “better half” of a really great man in Nathan Pierce (Nate, sorry, I’ve been trained to know the wife is always the better half) and died way too unexpectedly and way too young at 46.
These two through Paul Young Football League, youth basketball and just in general together over the last two-plus decades have impacted countless young people. You can say a final good-bye at services Monday, 10 a.m. at Chandler Road Church of Christ.
It’s almost time
All-State week is here which sounds the two-minute warning around here — or should I say two-week warning.
Football drills begin Aug. 7 with preseason scrimmages the weeks of Aug. 12 and 19 and the regular season kicking off in earnest on Aug. 31. Volleyball and fastpitch also start on Aug. 7.
Talking with colleagues around the state who cover All-State, the sentiment seems to grow each year. But that doesn’t mean anyone of consequence will listen.
All-State shouldn’t really be All-State. And that’s not to discredit the kids who end up in the game, but to point out who isn’t.
Athletes who have signed with Division I schools generally aren’t allowed to play in the game by orders of their respective colleges, so if All-State is regarded as the best in the state, then there’s a flaw there. Plus, it seems like every year there are other multiple dropouts from the games, which means it doesn’t mean a whole lot to others.
So far, and it’s a hold-your-breath kind of thing hoping it doesn’t, there hasn’t been any massive changes and my understanding is that the Oklahoma Coaches Association has made some extra attempts to ensure the ones originally selected commit to playing. But since the rosters haven’t been updated by the OCA all summer and they really don’t do a good job answering the phones or email about updates, it’s still a day-to-day thing as to what will ultimately happen.
Again, there’s no knocking those who are in — even if they are a “fill in” for someone who doesn’t show up. But the very best are missing a few so let’s call it what it really is — an all-star game. And while we’re at it, let’s come up with some consistent selection criteria.
“All-State” shouldn’t be a political, who’s-your-buddy system among coaches, nor should it be based on a tryout, but an athlete’s overall performance that season. Just as an example, you don’t leave off someone like Jarrard Poteete, the Phoenix MVP and ex-Hilldale catcher. There’s no reason that the state champion shouldn’t have at least one deserving player.
But then, if they aren’t even listening to a fellow coach (I’m talking you, Darren Riddle), then why would they listen to the media?
Any further questions?
Note to those hardheads among you who still pull me off to the side and say Muskogee head football coach Josh Blankenship is just itching to move up to the college ranks (starting with the day his dad was hired at Tulsa, then when his hand-picked defensive coordinator left for Tulsa East Central’s head coaching job), scratch another reason off your list. He and his family now have a house in Muskogee, so the “he’s still living in Tulsa” excuse is gone.
And here’s another reason — a comment from the other day in his office: “I’m called to coach high school football.” I can’t put words on the expression, but it bled truth.
He’s said that before, but you weren’t listening.
Maybe now you will.
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- Sooner ace puts Oklahoma one win from WCWS
- Oklahoma tosses second straight shutout in beating Tech
- OU rallies around tragedy
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- Local racing glance
- TCU rallies to defeat Cowboys
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