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Keeler: Postseason tournaments about to change


By Tommy Keeler Jr.

As I sit here trying to figure out what to write my column about this week and with Sonny and Cher's "I Got You Babe" playing in my head (thanks, "One Life to Live") it hit me that summer is just around the corner.

May is upon us and that means one last rush to close out the high school season.
Things feel a little different to me as one final postseason gets ready to kick in.

This will be the last time Warren County will participate in the Evergreen District, so naturally it will be their last time in the tournaments.

Everything is about to change in the Virginia High School League, and that's not a bad thing. But one of those things is the end of most of the district tournaments.

Next year only the Bull Run will have district tournaments in our area, and even then they will only be playing for pride and a trophy.

I'm not saying it's a bad thing -- it's just different.

So this spring season will be the last time many of our schools play in district tournaments. It's a last chance for many in the area to go out and see the area schools battle it out with their district rivals with something truly on the line.

Things have already changed a lot over the years. It used to be only two teams advanced to regionals. That's still the case in the spring for the Group AA teams, but Group A teams now have two divisions so that more than two teams usually advance.

There's nothing like a district tournament game, where it's win or go home. There's just something about the finality of it that adds to the excitement and intensity of the game. That's one of the reasons I've always enjoyed district tournaments.

The other reason is the close proximity of many of the schools in the districts. Many of them were rivals not only within a district, but also within a county or a region.

District tournaments also served as one last chance to turn a mediocre season into something special. It's a chance for the underdog to knock off the top dog with everything on the line.

Next year districts will basically become conferences, and there will be conference tournaments. However, it won't be quite the same.

A Sherando-Dominion conference game or a Central-Loudoun Valley game doesn't have quite the same feel as Sherando-Skyline or Central-Strasburg.

This will be the last time we can see some of those exciting matchups between Sherando-Skyline or Handley-James Wood where there will be serious regional implications.

Hopefully all of the athletes, coaches and the fans can enjoy and appreciate the upcoming postseason -- because there will never be another quite like it.

All good things come to an end eventually, even "90210" will be airing its final show this week.

I'm sure in time everyone will get used to the new conferences and the new VHSL six-classification system.

Someday I might be writing about how great rivalries like Central-John Champe and Sherando-Woodgrove are (hopefully without a Sonny and Cher or Meatloaf song going through my head).

Maybe eventually there will even be district tournaments again. Hey, if 'One Life to Live" can come back from the dead on the Internet, anything can happen (Now if they would only stop playing Sonny and Cher on the show, I would be happier).

Until then, this week is one last chance to sit back and enjoy one last surge of district tournaments.

It feels like the end of an era, but it's also the beginning of what could be an even better time in the world of Virginia high school sports.

Contact Assistant Sports Editor Tommy Keeler at 540-465-5137 ext. 155, or tkeeler@nvdaily.com



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