Confusion in the classroom, on the field

A few weeks back, I helped a kindergarten student with her homework. First of all, I remember the only homework I had in kindergarten was remembering to bring my new Jem doll in for Show-and-tell. But, I figured it was kindergarten – how hard could it be? The answer: It wasn’t easy.

The directions were easy enough to understand, but the answers by no means were clear for adults, making it hard to let the kids know if they were right or wrong.

When I reported back to her mother that the homework was complete (and a little hard), she chuckled and then described to me the “common core” standards that are now being taught at schools – specifically in math.

She then showed me her oldest child’s math homework. To do a subtraction problem, there were a bunch of humps and random numbers and then I had to write a sentence about it. I was confused as a well-educated adult – I don’t know how fourth graders can handle this on a daily basis.

What was wrong with math before? In my 33 years I’ve never had any trouble with the way I learned math back in 1988. When I’m at football games trying to figure out total yards, I’m not drawing humps.

This is the way our society is going – instead of fixing what is broken, let’s take something that works just fine and make it more difficult than it needs to be. The same goes in sports. Here are some prime examples:

LOCAL ATHLETIC CONFERENCES: Many times we will ask the coaches after games, “What’s your league record?” They will reply with some variation of “I don’t know,” and to be honest, we can’t even be mad at them – we don’t know either. Conferences change so much that by the time someone figures them out, they change again.

Long gone are the days of when everyone was in a conference for a significant number of years, and everytime you played an opponent in your conference it’s considered a league game. There were no tiers. There were no games where division opponents play non-conference games. When Champion played Lakeview in the days of the TAC-8, it was a league game – no questions asked.

Conferences change so much it’s hard keeping straight who’s in the conference, if there are tiers, and who is in those conferences/tiers, etc.

Maybe one day we will figure it all out, but by that time, it will change again.

COMPETITIVE BALANCE: Not only is competitive balance a situation that needs fixed, but the proposed solution is confusing to understand. Enough said.

SWITCHING SEASONS: This isn’t something that is being made more difficult, but it definitely falls into the “it’s broken and needs fixed” category.

The spring sports season has been on one of the worst in many years in terms of rain, cancellations, etc. Today is the tournament draw for sectional tournaments around the state. Some teams in the area are going into the draw with less than 10 games under their belts.

Yes, it would take a massive undertaking at the Ohio High School Athletic Association and the coaches/administrators around the state, but the issue of switching some fall and spring sports needs to be addressed. Soccer can play in the conditions we’ve had this spring. Baseball and softball can not.

Is it feasible? Maybe. But it’s definitely worth a look.