The boys of summer (not baseball)
I’m up before the sun this morning since I have to travel to Beloit for what has become an annual rite of June for me.
Today, the Kansas 8-Man Football Association will conduct its annual All-Star doubleheader at Beloit High School. There is a game for each division; the Division II game starts at 10 a.m., followed by the Division I game at 1:30 p.m.
Teams are divided strictly based upon the district assignments of the Kansas State High School Activities Association. Therefore, schools in districts 1, 2, 3 and 4 make up the East teams, and the schools from districts 5, 6, 7 and 8 make up the West squads.
That’s too simplistic of a way to select teams. Osborne, for instance, has its players on the East squad since it is a member of District 4 of Division I, but there is no way you can tell me Osborne is in eastern Kansas.
Eight-man coaches bitched for years and years about the lack of 8-man players in the Shrine Bowl, the annual All-Star game which is played later in the summer. In 1986, when there were fewer 8-man programs than there are now, the coaches decided to begin an annual All-Star game just for the 8-man players at Beloit. It was one game until 2001, when separate games were created for each Division.
The Shrine Bowl began in 1974. There are two players from the 8-man ranks selected for each squad, not many when you consider 68 players in all are selected. The 8-man coaches have begged for proportional representation in the Shrine Bowl, which would mean there would have to be eight or nine players on each squad from the 8-man ranks, since nearly one quarter of football playing schools are currently in the 8-man ranks.
I don’t understand why these games are played in the daytime. Most football games are played at night to begin with. The only day games are second round playoff games on Saturday for Class 3A and the two 8-man divisions, and the state championship games. Worse, why the heck do coaches want to play a day game in June, when it will more than likely be 90 degrees or above? Today’s highs are going to come close to 90, and as bad as that sounds, it has been worse. I can recall more than one day it was above 100. That’s just begging for heat exhaustion, or God forbid, heatstroke. The track athletes may love the hot weather because it’s easier to warm up, but they aren’t wearing all that equipment. The helmet may protect a player’s head, but it sure traps the heat.
Beloit supports sports and has some great people, but I would like to see these games played at a larger stadium, preferably one which has artificial turf. Newton, which hosts the 8-man championship games in November, would be ideal. So would Salina Central or Kansas Wesleyan, both of which have turf and the proper capacity. If Russell upgraded its visitors stands, then it could also be an option.
I’ve got my fluids and my sunscreen ready to go. Should be a hot one. I guess I have to pay the piper for the beautiful weather at state track last weekend.