Now that the 3A conference’s all-state team rosters have been released, there is a lot of grumbling, griping, moaning and complaining over the selections.
As a former high school coach, I can attest first-hand that the selection process does not come close to being scientific. Some kids probably get more recognition than they deserve and others receive less than what they should. That’s just the nature of the process.
I’ve related to a lot of younger coaches the first all-region selection I attended as a rookie head coach at Show Low High School.
In the coaches’ meeting was a wily veteran who had mastered the nuances to gently manipulate the votes to earn his players accolades he thought they deserved.
This coach had enough well-earned “Coach of the Year” plaques to cover an entire wall in his home, and his players were always among the most well-recognized and applauded in the state. I remember the coach having the skills to be a high-dollar public relations agent or a darn good used car salesman, whichever he chose.
Sitting just to his right in the selection meeting, I nominated one of my players for an all-region position he had also nominated his player for — linebacker, I believe.
When the time for coaches’ voting rolled around, we were allowed time to “sell” our player and ask questions of our colleagues.
First up, the crafty veteran asked me how fast my kid was in the 40-yard dash.
I replied, “4.8.”
He said, “Mine does 4.65.”
He asked, “How much does your kid bench press?”
I answered, “300.”
He countered with, “Mine does 325.”
He continued, “How many tackles did your kid have?”
I proudly responded, “155.”
He barked back, “Mine had 163.”
And so the questions continued and with each of his responses, his kid outperformed my nominee.
Needless to say, his player earned first team and mine was relegated to the second team.
I left that meeting thinking, “I’ve been duped.”
The following year at the selection meeting, the same scenario began to unfold with both of us trying to politic fellow coaches into voting for our nominee. But this time when he asked, “How fast does your kid do the 40?” I replied, “I don’t know until I hear how fast your kid is.” The coach, who to this day I greatly respect, fooled me once, but I wasn’t going to let him fool me twice.
As I said earlier, the selection process is not an exact science, but it is the voting method we use.
Hardt at nationals
In a recent Extra Points, I wrote about Sherod Hardt, a Queen Creek High School senior with pioneer family ties to Payson.
He lived in Payson during his elementary school years before his family moved to Springerville and then Queen Creek.
A few days ago I received an e-mail response from his mother Ellie (Teach) Hardt, a former Lady Longhorn basketball player who also once coached at Payson High School.
Ellie says Sherod was invited to travel to Oregon to compete against the premier runners in the nation at the Nike Cross Country Team Nationals. He was originally going to compete in the Foot Locker west regionals on the same date, but opted for the Nike event to take on stiffer competition.
What he did in Oregon has made family, friends and teammates extremely proud. Cutting loose with a sizzling 5K time of 15:18.7 time, he finished sixth against the elite field that included qualifiers from Texas, New Jersey, California, Ohio and states around the country.
Now home, he will take time off before returning to train.