This past week, the South Carolina High School League turned down an appeal that would have kept Rock Hill and South Pointe high schools in Region 3-AAAA where they belong.
Instead, beginning in 2008, athletic teams from those two schools will be joined in Region 4 by Blythewood, Ridge View, Spring Valley and Lancaster. Despite a well thought-out appeal presented by Bill Warren, Northwestern's director of athletics, on behalf of the schools in Region 3, the high school league's executive committee rejected it by a less-than-convincing 9-5 vote.
So in 2008, instead of playing in the same region with Northwestern, Clover, York, Fort Mill and Nation Ford -- York County's other high schools -- the athletes from Rock Hill and South Pointe will be trying to cultivate new rivalries and relationships with the schools around Columbia.
Apparently, that's the end of it.
Apparently, the Rock Hill School District is going to let this one go despite the fact it's the wrong thing to do for our kids.
And apparently, even though Jerome Singleton, executive director of the high school league, said he made a mistake by moving South Pointe and Rock Hill, the SCHSL is going to let this stand, too.
If you're a parent of an athlete at either of those schools, you should be fired up about this. You should be mad. You should be on the phone to the school district office, the SCHSL office, anyone who will listen.
The new regions don't start this year. They start next year. There's time to do something about this. Don't tell me you can't.
And here's why you try.
One of the joys of being a high school athlete and the parent of one is the relationships formed during years of playing sports. Around here, that means kids from Rock Hill and Northwestern and South Pointe, York, Clover, Fort Mill grew up playing against each other. These kids like playing against each other in games that matter, not non-region games that don't mean anything to the standings or region championships.
And that Rock Hill and Northwestern have played the last regular-season football game of the year since Northwestern came into existence should matter. Tradition matters because tradition is what builds communities. Rock Hill and Northwestern shouldn't be playing in the third game or fifth game. They should play the last game whether there's a title on the line or not.
And if you're a parent of one of those athletes in any sport, there's nothing better than being able to get off work a 5, jump in the car and get to the game in plenty of time. Say your kid is a South Pointe baseball player and he's got a game at Ridge View at 4:30. Are you going to get there on time? No. Maybe not at all.
As a parent, you have the right, the obligation to be there. The SCHSL, with its decision, has limited severely your ability to watch your kid play.
And what about those night games, those buses driving up and down I-77 on a school night when your kid has homework and he might be too tired to tackle it by the time he gets home? Yeah, I know it's not that far to Columbia, but a school night is a school night and I'd rather my kid be coming back from Fort Mill than Spring Valley.
Plus, it's going to cost the schools more to travel at a time when stretching the athletic dollar already is hard enough.
The realignment plan was a joke to begin with and perhaps our local school officials -- I'm talking about those at the district office -- thought it would be overturned on appeal without too much trouble. Perhaps representatives from the Rock Hill schools should have gone to Columbia en masse to protest a move that does nothing to benefit our kids.
And now, it looks like it's too late.
Or is it?
If you've got a kid playing sports at Rock Hill or South Pointe -- even Northwestern, Fort Mill, York, Clover, Nation Ford -- pick up the phone.
Do it for the kids.