Any bean counter can skew numbers to look the way they want. The commuting distance for the NVL is shorter, by two miles. I wouldn’t cut that travel budget yet! There are more “S” schools in the NVL, but they won’t tell you there are also more of the feared “LL” schools that purportedly wear our players down. Apparently there have been several bus accidents on the black ice covered roads of the SWC, as if the hills and roads traveled in the NVL will be maintained better.
Much of what the Commitee has gathered and presented to the BOE is opinion and not fact-based. If I formed a committee charged with searching for reasons to stay in the SWC I could be equally as creative. Because a particular all-knowing, ex-assistant coach/BOE member has addressed OHS Wrestling, Coaches, and used Derby Wrestling to corraborate his opinion of how Wrestling will not be impacted, I'd like to set the record straight. A change from SWC to NVL will negatively impact OHS Wrestling. Oxford Wrestling will go from 11 league matches to 3. All league matches are held on the nine Wednesday evenings that make up our season. I would need to fill six Wednesday evenings. It doesn’t seem too hard except for the fact the large majority of wrestling teams are associated with longstanding leagues and are already committed to league matches on Wednesday evenings. One can easily verify this fact by looking at Seymour and Derby schedules (www.casciac.org). Both Seymour and Derby were able to fill only three additional Wednesdays by traveling to teams like Haddam/Killingworth and Old Saybrook/Westbrook. I didn’t get a chance to mapquest the distances. Seymour is HOME only twice the whole year. I argue that the lack of regular, mid week, HOME competition hinders a wrestler’s ability to maintain their bout weight, and dampens school spirit, rivalry, and momentum. If Derby, with their longstanding tradition and Hall of Fame coach, has trouble scheduling matches, how do you think Oxford will fare?
Oxford Wrestling will lose a respected year-ending League Championship Tournament. This tournament means alot to the kids as individuals and to the team. It serves as an important tuneup for the state tournament. Without a league tournament, and lacking that final Wednesday league match, there is a 13 day wait from your last competition leading up to the states. The committee should have been charged with comparing the two leagues, not hyping the NVL over the SWC. The SWC is not broken. Oxford is not a town divided. League officials have proven they are open to solutions as shown by their going from two to three divisions in some sports. Feeder programs, facilities, and Coaches are improving at OHS and will have a positive impact on all sports. I can't understand why a BOE would propose going to a league that doesn't offer all the current sports, and then tell those programs the SWC will still schedule them.
When we turn our backs to the SWC, do you think they will schedule us with open arms? There seems to be enough opposition to, and question with respect to state statute, town charter, meeting minutes, and public notice to warrant a second look.
- Ben Blue, Oxford High School wrestling coach