Pickens' Perspective: Conference tournaments need overhauling
Forgive me if I'm not popping with excitement about Fairfield Prep's third-straight SCC championship.
"It's always nice to compete and win championships," Smalkais said.
Still, Prep essentially blitzed the Indians for 12 minutes then autopiloted through the rest. Smalkais admitted that too.
"We kind of stopped playing a little bit," he said. "Our seniors are done with school, we had a couple of guys wake up at 2 in the afternoon today."
More InformationFact box
Basically all this proves what many of us know: conference tournaments are great but detract from the main event.
The CIAC does not even acknowledge conference tournaments in its assessment of state-tournament rankings. Plus, reaching your conference final in baseball -- especially with spring's tumultuous weather -- can actually detriment your chances of winning that tournament.
Still, some conference tourneys are worthwhile. For whatever reason, winning the FCIAC in any sport is a massive deal. In some cases -- I know baseball is one of them -- winning that league actually trumps winning the state title.
Still, when the weather forces leagues to declare co-champions twice in one school year, it may be time to examine what conference tournaments do.
They sure do make money, and undoubtedly that's why conference tournaments exist. Sure, kids want to play their rivals and be rewarded for their efforts, but isn't that why we have a regular season?
In New Jersey, they play county tournaments, which would be a really interesting twist especially in Fairfield County. Can you imagine a single-elimination boys lacrosse tournament with Ridgefield, Darien, Prep, Barlow, Wilton, Greenwich and New Canaan in it?
Or how about a boys soccer tournament that has Prep, Greenwich, Newtown, Norwalk, Staples and Ridgefield?
Can you imagine what THOSE cash cows would be?
The SCC and SWC have already merged in boys ice hockey -- that announcement was made this past Friday. Surely that could be a start to amending the conference tournament structure we have now, no?
Take my suggestions or leave them. If the kids like playing the same opposition over and over again, then they should have the opportunity to.
But don't confuse things, the state tournament means the most.