Monday, April 27, 2009

No baseball in high school

A few days ago I did a post on how baseball was going to become a DODDS-sanctioned sport in Europe. I think that's a good thing, but it isn't going to work everywhere. As of now, DODDS has no plan to sponsor baseball as a school sport in the Pacific region.

There are a lot of planning issues involved, as well as logistical ones:
But many hurdles must be overcome, DODDS-Pacific Far East Activities Council officials say, before baseball and softball can be added to the FEAC calendar of activities.

Besides money, many other questions, including tournament format, logistics and participation, must be addressed, FEAC chair Don Hobbs said. "There are lots of things we’d have to tackle," he said.

How long would such tournaments last? Would international schools be invited or would it be limited to DODDS-Pacific teams only, as is the case with wrestling, cross country and tennis?

Would there be Class AA and Class A divisions, or would all teams play as one? Then there’s tournament location; not all DODDS-Pacific schools have baseball and softball fields, and must rely on base services.

Some schools play baseball and softball outside of spring; Guam girls softball was played in November and December, while Matthew C. Perry and E.J. King in Japan play baseball in the fall.
It actually is a problem, as the schools in the Pacfic region tend to be small. And becasue of the large distance required for travel and the expenses (planes vs buses), the seasons tend to be short and the squads small.

There are actual sports issues also:
Then there’s the availability of the most valued commodity in both sports — pitching. National Federation of State High School Associations rules limit baseball pitchers to so many innings per 24 hours; the actual limits vary from state to state.

Coupled with the lack of experienced arms at smaller DODDS schools, it’s long been asked by DODDS-Pacific officials if there are enough arms to go around.
And a few others:
The weather could also put a damper on things, especially on Okinawa, where the rainy season begins at mid-May and can last for weeks.

"Rain is always a factor. Baseball and softball are sports that can’t be played in the rain," Seoul American baseball coach Bob Heckerl said.
I spent time in the Pacific, and dated teachers at the DODDS high school, and have remained in touch with them. As well as helping to officiate football. The squads are small, and one or two studs can dominate easily.

It isn't quite over yet:
All of those issues are expected to be discussed at the next FEAC meeting, slated for May 18-19 on Okinawa. "There isn’t a (FEAC) meeting when it isn’t on the agenda," Hobbs said.
But I don't see DODDS adding baseball to the school schedule anytime soon. I wish they would. These kids are in this situation while their parents are serving their country in the military. They're away from the states in a foreign enviornment, and anything like this helps ease the transition.

Plus, it's a proven fact that afterschool activities are good for kids. It keeps them out of trouble, forces them to study hardy to stay eligible, and leaves them less time for mischief. Even with all of the problems, DODDS should get this started. The end result doesn't really matter in this situation. But the means do.

No comments: