Hope you caught the story about Fort Gibson’s Brooke Lehman and Mika Stone and their sense of sacrifice this past week. Both bypassed a very special event — both were queens in the FGHS homecoming court — and both, after some understandable wavering back and forth, chose to return to the softball field and help their teammates to a state tournament berth.

Great story indeed, putting team above self.

But here’s my problem with the whole deal: The story should have never been written, the event should have never happened. They should have never been put in a position to show the leadership expected of seniors.

Nothing against Stone and Lehman. But it’s the OSSAA and the respective school administrators’ fault they had to do it.

If you’ve read me regularly, you already know how I feel about the OSSAA playoff system in anything but football. It’s goofy. There’s no penalty for a losing season. Everybody goes to the playoffs. Teams are put in two and sometimes three-team “districts,” after playing conference games that mean so little that coaches often struggle to keep up with their record within them. The district assignments are based on some wacko and often incomplete ranking system that seems to tilt favorably toward teams on the west side of the state. Seeds don’t really make sense considering that, like basketball for instance. The boys and girls teams always go to the same district to begin play.

The one thing I can say about basketball season is at least the OSSAA has the good sense to put it on at night, when crowds can assemble and ticket revenue improves — which is supposedly the reason they throw an all-comers playoff party in the first place. That’s much better than what we just witnessed in softball and volleyball. Fort Gibson’s Class 4A regional wrapped up last Friday afternoon. The tournament started on Thursday. It should have been backed up to Wednesday, or even Tuesday for that matter if you still want to respect the churches’ schedules on Wednesday. But why Friday and why midday Friday? No students can attend and few parents can go if you consider the vast majority of society works from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m.

Okay has hosted its own 4A volleyball regional for some time now. To build an afternoon fan base, Okay schools let the kids out of class early as long as they attend the games and don’t attempt to leave campus. It’s an effective way to build volume, but it was sure amusing watching the home bell ring and what was by that time a half-full gym was reduced to no more than about 30 people. Skip homework. Support your Okay Lady Mustangs.

Most states play all of their postseason activities on evenings or weekends. I keep hearing this is a cash cow for the OSSAA, but I can’t see it in the fall.

Using football as an example, let all these other sports play these silly conference formats then have a week-long district tournament. Each football district has eight or so teams. There’s no reason districts can’t be that big, or at least four teams instead of two, moving the winners along to a regional, then a state tournament.

Spreading it over a week allows all events to be played at night or on weekends.

It seems so simple.

But then, we’re talking about the OSSAA, where decisions aren’t always made with kids — and families — in mind.

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