HomeOpinionOPINION: County, district championships add to excitement of regular season sports

OPINION: County, district championships add to excitement of regular season sports

South Side baseball won the Rushing Trophy earlier this week.

The Hawks’ football team also won the Commissioners’ Cup last fall.

For those that are unaware, the Rushing Trophy is awarded each year for the last couple years now to the Jackson-Madison County Schools baseball team that has the best record against other JMCSS baseball teams.

The Commissioners’ Cup has been around for a few years longer and essentially does the same thing for football. At the time it started, there were only three varsity football teams in JMCSS – North Side, South Side and Liberty. So whichever team had the best record among the three got the trophy every year.

The Indians claimed it the first few years, but South Side has had it the last couple.

I’m about to ask a couple questions that you may disagree with because a positive answer could complicate things and create what some would feel are too many trophies for one county. But I’m going to ask them anyway.

Why isn’t there some kind of JMCSS trophy for all sports where there are more than two teams playing?

Cross country, volleyball, girls’ soccer and golf could all have them in the fall.

Of course, basketball could have a couple of trophies.

In the spring, softball, boys’ soccer and tennis could have them too.

I guess track and field would be a little more difficult to have them, but once JMCSS builds this new football stadium next to Oman Arena with full track and field facilities, they could have their own track meet one time each spring and not invite anyone else to it to have their district track and field championships.

I supposed it’s technically possible for them to do it now, but it would be kind of rude to ask University School of Jackson if they can borrow their track for an evening for a meet that the Bruins wouldn’t be invited to.

But speaking of private and public schools in Madison County, here’s another question I’ve been wanting to pose for a few years now.

We don’t necessarily need one in every sport, but I think basketball, baseball, softball, soccer and volleyball could definitely have one.

Has anyone ever thought of having a Madison County tournament?

I realize there might be some push back from the spring sports because it seems like their season is short (six weeks for the regular season), so it’s asking a lot for teams to carve out a weekend or even a full week for a tournament. But baseball and softball could potentially be done within three days if they’re single-elimination. Or a double-elimination tournament could be done as quickly if the West Tennessee Healthcare Sportsplex wanted to host it on multiple fields for a couple days in the middle of a week.

But it seems like basketball could fit one in sometime between Thanksgiving and Groundhog Day.

One thing that is a negative aspect about having nine high schools that field varsity sports in Madison County (10 when you add Augustine School for the teams it fields) is the segmentation of the high school sports fan base.

There’s natural segmentation among the different schools. But then that segmentation almost deepens when you throw in the private-public school aspect of it.

Having a county-wide competition would give fans of sports in Madison County a chance to see teams play against each other that normally wouldn’t for whatever reason.

Just take this past basketball season as an example. South Side and Trinity Christian girls played early in the season at Gibson County during their Thanksgiving Classic.

What if there’d been a Madison County tournament in January in which the Lady Lions or USJ – who beat TCA twice to claim the district championship – could’ve met in a tournament championship against South Side and given the Lady Hawks an added challenge late in the regular season?

I understand hesitation by coaches because all four private schools are in the same district and three JMCSS schools were in the same district last year. But if there were a sports advisory council in the county that could possibly coordinate, seed and schedule the tournament, teams could possibly avoid a third-regular season game against a district opponent in the opening around of the tournament at least.

County tournaments are a tradition in a lot of counties in Alabama, and I enjoyed watching them growing up and covering them at the papers I worked at before moving up here 15 years ago.

I think hanging out at Oman Arena or Union or Lane watching these tournaments would be a fun experience for sports fans in the county as well.

Brandon Shields is the managing editor of The Jackson Post. Contact him at brandon@jacksonpost.news. Follow him on Twitter @JSEditorBrandon or Instagram @Editorbrandon.

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