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High Schools On The Move?

November 17, 2011 - Al Stephenson
It would seem that big time universities are not the only schools looking to change conferences. Local high schools are heating up the water cooler talk as three members of the MAL are considering finding new playmates. There have been a number of schools moving from one conference to another over the years. The NOL has seen several changes and is still realiging. The MAL has been relatively stable, at least until now.

When I read the minutes of New Riegel's board meeting in the A-T the other day, I was surprised to learn of possible changes to the MAL. According to the article, Seneca East, Mohawk and Carey are considering leaving the conference. If that happens, the remaining members of the league will meet to see about adding other schools. The potential moves made me think back to my childhood.

A graduate of Attica High School, I grew up when the old Seneca County League had 8 members. New Riegel, Bettsville, Old Fort and Hopewell-Loudon came from the west side of the county. Attica, Republic, Bloomville and Thompson covered the east end. Some memories are extremely vivid for me and I'd like to share them with you.

Basketball floors on stages were common. Bloomville, Old Fort, Thompson and H-L had them. New Riegel had the stage next to their floor and elementary students used to sit cross-legged on the edge of the stage. Since the playing floor was only a couple of feet away from the stage, it was not uncommon to have to dodge some flying appendages. Afterall little kids will not sit still. Attica had the band loft at one end of the gymnasium and it created depth perception problems for our opponents.

Bettsville had the biggest floor in the county and (speaking of depth perception) I once launced a shot from in front of our bench there, not realizing just how far away I was from the hoop. When the ball fell alarmingly short, my coach very candidly suggested that I should move in a little before my next attempt. I couldn't have taken the shot in front of the Bobcat bench...

Thompson's floor was so small that I can remember the scores of our games in both my junior and senior seasons when we made the trip to Fireside. How does 111-99 and 116-96 sound. Those were the actual scores and I doubt you will see too many like that ever again.

I also recall in my elementary and junior high days that you had to get to the school you were playing at least an hour before the JV game was to tip off if you expected to get in. That's right, you would have to stand out in the freezing cold to assure you would get a seat. I'm not so sure that part makes me nostalgic.

Alas, Republic and Attica combined to form Seneca East. Bloomville went to Tiffin first and currently are part of Buckeye Central. Thompson went to Bellevue and the SCL eventually became the MAL. Now there is talk of my alma mater going elsewhere. That is a little disheartening.

Schools change conferences for a number of reasons. Geography (travel time and cost) as well as competitiveness being two common reasons.

The view from my seat suggests that I have no real problem with the three MAL schools including Seneca East changing conferences. I would like to know the rationale behind the proposed move though, as it is a little sad that the five remaining SCL schools may no longer be together.


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