Thursday, September 18, 2014
TISCA Open Letter
Expect this open letter to be a ramblin' disaster. In other words, exactly what you've come to expect here at the Texas Swimming blog. Strategy for goin' through this might be to read a little, take a little break, send a hateful email, repeat...
I know at least a few TISCA-member coaches (& a sponsor or two) read this site now and then. I hope you will find something in this letter that may lead to a discussion or two in any informal meetings y'all may have this weekend at the clinic in Austin. Kick 'round some idears while in the golf cart or at the dinner table.
It's clear the UIL's warmin' to the idear of water polo (minus the horses). It reminds me of the days just before they split swimming into two divisions. Back then, the movement went from an individual or two (parent and/or coach) gittin' nowhere fer years, to TISCA and the UIL workin' together to make it happen.
So what? Maybe we want to work with the UIL to get polo, you say?
Think of the track coach who couldn't care less 'bout cross country, but - thanks to his/her expertise in the areas of runnin', jumpin', & throwin' - is assigned to coach the sport.
Now, imagine yer a swim coach who couldn't care less about polo. Yes, there are a few out there. Like it er not, y'all are gonna be orderin' goals, balls, shot clocks, etc.
Since you be the expert in water sports, not only do ya gotta keep workin' with divers - now you'll be coachin' kids swimmin' round in funny lookin' hats elbowin' each other in the mouth and kickin' where it really hurts.
If you can't stand hearin' a whistle go off every ten seconds, might be time to go lookin' fer alternative careers outside high school 'quatics in Texas.
Okay, so what if you like the idear of all that thrashin' & whistlin'? Think back to the track/cross country example. Neither sport covers both semesters, right? Could adding polo as a UIL sport lead to fall-only swimmin' with polo in the spring? Want to try fittin' a state swim/dive meet into December? That's the time of year kids are headin' off to USA Swimming Nationals, Junior Nationals, and USA Diving Nationals. Have fun with that.
Polo or no polo, any movement toward fall-only swim/dive is bad news. When the season was shortened (used to end in March), important invites got piled on top of one another. The state TISCA meet was eliminated. Fall-only swim/dive would mean elimination of more invites and - more than likely - yer favorite revenue-generatin' invites - them regional TISCA meets.
Of course, y'all could come back to work with the foosball coaches, run two-a-days in early August, and start the swim season in late August. If that's what y'all want, go for it!
Now, think of polo and fall-only swim/dive from the UIL's perspective. They'd still rake in the same amount of dough from swimming (now twice what they did before the 4A/5A split), plus they'd get an entirely new revenue stream by adding polo. Since they know coaches would do all the work in organizing district/region/state tournaments, they'd barely lift a finger while them dollar signs in their eyes light up. See why they're startin' to come 'round to the polo idear?
Bottom line? Keep polo out of the UIL and fight against fall-only swimming.
So, that covers what I think we should be against. What should we be for?
Glad y'all asked!
We should be for finding a way to get 24 qualifiers per event (in both divisions) to the state meet. That was once one of TISCA's most important missions. It should be again. They went for the 4A/5A split when they realized it meant doubling revenue while only slightly increasing effort. Adding another heat to prelims would increase Friday attendance without them having to lift a finger, right?
Also, we've seen huge increase in the number of kids swimmin' and divin' in Texas high schools. Why does it have to end there?
Why are there still so few college swim programs (fourteen for women & eleven for men) in Texas? Can't we advocate for more college opportunities for these kids within our great state? Let's find a way to revive programs that were cut (thanks, Title IX) and start some new ones. We can come up with a long list of colleges in this state that have pools. Why not find a way to make it easy for presidents & athletic directors to say "yes" to swimming?
Finally, TISCA stopped posting their unofficial call-up lists a few years ago. UIL pressure on our once-autonomous organization somehow led to our leadership cavin' in (don't the UIL frown on bullyin'?). So, with the help of some swim coaches and parents, we've put together the call-up lists for the last couple of years and posted them here.
I'll give y'all a little heads up. Call-ups ain't gonna be posted here on 2015 region weekend. So, it looks like some coaches, swim parents, or - gasp - TISCA will have to post unofficial call-ups.
It's either that or wait until the folks over on Manor Road git 'round to it the follerin' week.
No, TN didn't threaten me with bodily harm. Check back here tomorrow and I'll fill y'all in on the reason.
Q. What's the best way to keep someone in suspense?
A. I'll tell ya tomorrow...