Sand Baggers? Not So Fast…

Well it’s been a few days now since the end of the Minor Lacrosse Season and I have a ton of thoughts running through my head of things to talk about. Some of them are rants, some of them great stories, and my only hope is that I can remember all of them and pass them on.

The first story I wanted to discuss was one that has a lot of people fuming for various reasons. Being completely honest, I myself was caught up in this exact same emotion when my team was eliminated in a semi-final game by a team that ultimately won our Championship. Our score was 10-4 (and outside of a brief point in the late stages of the second period, where it was 5-3, this score was complimentary to the game itself).

When talking about lopsided scores, so many people like to throw out the “Sand Baggers” term it puts many in an uncomfortable position. But after thinking about it and seeing my fair share of one-sided games, should there be blame, and if so, who is to blame for this happening?

I made a comment on my thoughts as to how and why this can and does happen. I also, I think, have a beginning to a resolution. We need to limit the number of tournaments (A, B, C, D) in every division, and then make it mandatory for all teams to attend at least two tournaments prior to attending Provincials. If you do not enter two tournaments, you do not go to Provincials, period. This would allow our “raters” the ability to compare teams from tournament games in addition to simply using zone games. In essence a team that does well in a weaker zone may not do so well against teams from another zone. Conversely, teams that do poorly in a stronger zone, may fair better against different competition in another zone.

Making a couple of tournaments mandatory, allows for a comparison of like teams. In the event they do not play each other, they will at least have played somewhat similar opponents, and that is where we should be able to see who fits where.

And I agree as many have suggested; other than the declaration of Peewee, Bantam, and Midget “A” teams for qualifier schedules, what is the rush to get the ratings done? So long as teams know where the Provincials are, we do not need to know in late June, early July what our ratings are. Wait until a couple of weeks before to announce it, if it means getting it right.

Lastly, I would abolish the right to an appeal. If the time is taken to rank teams properly and we have good data to substantiate a rating, that is where teams should play.

One very hot topic in the Bantam Provincials was a game in the “D” division between Brockville and Sun County. Sun County came out on the short end of a 27-0 score. This had many on the fan forum furious. While I had mixed emotions when I heard the score, I really wondered if this was a bad decision by a Coaching staff in Brockville, or an attempt to ensure that if any formula came into play, they would move on. This is yet another decision making factor that I do not like. We get 27-0 scores because of the use of a formula. What is my solution to that? Make penalty minutes the first decision maker. This would also get a lot of the “crap” out of games that I saw as well.

I received a note from Richard Houle, the President of Brockville Lacrosse that he agreed to share on here to put into perspective why the game went to 27-0. I think Mr. Houle’s comments prove my point that the formula is not the way to go.

Mr Mark,

My name is Richard Houle. I am President of the Brockville Lacrosse Association and also coach the Brockville Intermediate and Bantam lacrosse teams. Having spent the weekend in Whitby and Six Nations(when I could) and being persecuted on the Unofficial and having strangers coming up to me and making rude statements at the rink in Whitby, for some reason I have chosen you to be the one I explain a few things to.

Doing this on the Unofficial would be opening myself up for more uneducated and unqualified comments.

First of all, Brockville had 65 kids playing lacrosse this year. Yeah, 65, I took my Intermediates A…how about that. Sound like a sandbagger? Our Midgets made top six in Midget C at Provincials.

My Bantams I call Jeckel and Hyde; you never sure who’s showing up.
Thirteen boys and one girl (two goalies) ages 12/13/14 signed up and paid for lacrosse this year. They played their butts off all year and could only beat Kingston. Yes as one of your Whitby parents said; we beat them at the Clarington tournament 7-4 by some stroke of luck. We then got beat 11-2 by Peterborough 2. Why don’t they mention that? Anyway they (Brockville) were and still are a D team. Why does nobody mention that Sun County in 15 Zone games scored 8 goals and had 255 goals scored against them? It is also not the first time they have lost 27-0 this year. I have the scores from all the Zone games. Now, once I knew who was in our pool, I researched the teams and I knew Brampton 2 was the team to beat. This same team sent my Peewee’s home in the quarters in 2005 with a sound beating so I was concerned. I found a score where they beat Gloucester 2 5-0 and we couldn’t beat Gloucester 2 all year. Then I see Nepean 1 only beat them 6-3 in the same tournament. We lost to Nepean 2 all year never mind Nepean 1. In my mind, Sun County was so bad that Brampton was going to do the same thing and I had to let the team keep going. Yes I felt bad but what the hell are you supposed to do? Get an OLA rep and say” look we’ll stop scoring at 10 if you tell Brampton they can only score 9 goals”? I did not think we would beat Brampton.

One of my questions is what happened to D-1/D-2 this year? The last thing in the world I wanted for this team was to play D but that is what they are. You cannot run with C teams that have 15-18 runners that know how to play when you have 13 runners that consists of five that never even played before. My core group is very good and we can play almost anybody for 2 periods but that’s it. Tried that all year.2-2 or 3-2 after the 2nd and lose 10-2 or something like that.

I knew July 1 that Sudbury was winning D. They beat Clarington 1 easily at West Durham. Nobody wanted to disrespect Mr. Grant?

In one of your replies you talk about a two tournament requirement and you are on the right track .It has to go one step further in that the teams in the West have to come East more. Whitby is the only Association from other Zones we consistently see come to Zone 5 tournaments. Thank you for that. Brockville tries to go to at least two tournaments in the other Zones every year.

I also believe tournaments should be one rating. Not B/C or C/D or A/B or whatever. Have tournaments where all the teams are rated the same.

I also feel the ratings are done too early. After the ratings were set this year, teams like Sudbury (that had 4 Zone games to be rated with by the way) went out and beat B teams in West Durham and C teams to win the Nepean tournament.

Zone games need to be watched closer too. Doing well in Zone 5 is not a great accomplishment and doing average in Zone 6 is not doing poorly.

Maybe the time has come for Double A lacrosse in order to level out the B and C Divisions. I agree that change is required but making small weak Associations play up every year is not the answer. They do need to win once in awhile. For the people that said we need to get our you know what’s kicked….don’t worry we have taken our licks, many, many times. My teams have been the joke of many tournaments in the past and that is why I resent the innuendoes from people that have no idea and hide anonymously.

Man it would be so sweet to have the numbers some of you Associations have. To make cuts and add team number 2 or 3 to the Association instead of trying to figure out how to make it work with 10 kids on a team would make life a whole lot easier.

Thank you for what you do for the game; it’s awesome, and I apologize for taking your time and thank you for your educated dialogue on the Unofficial.

Richard Houle

Richard, I thank you for posting here, and for what it is worth, I believe by doing so, you are interested as many others are, in seeking a more adequate system.


1 Comment

  1. Beaches have made a trip up to Ottawa two of the last three seasons, PeeWee1 two years ago and Intermediate A and Bantam1 this season. It’s a great trip and gave the Bantam1 team a really good look at Nepean1 who was their first opposition in the Provincials.

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