Transition from Middle School to High School

Dormant threads from the high school sections are preserved here.
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Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by David Riley »

For several years, I have hosted a middle school tournament and with the relatively recent move toward better quizbowl in Illinois, I've been trying to find a transition between middle school quiz bowl, which in most cases is not only casual but in some camps is almost exclusively pop-culture driven, and high school quizbowl along the lines of ACF, etc. Any tips?
David Riley
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by at your pleasure »

I don't know much about the sort of questions used in MS tournaments in Illinois, but my two cents would be to push for better MS questions( wich would both be good in themselves and better prepare students for high school quizbowl) and to encourage more middle schoolers to play high school tournaments.
Douglas Graebner, Walt Whitman HS 10, Uchicago 14
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Kanga-Rat Murder Society »

I guess the best option would be to write the state series. My middle school did not have Scholastic Bowl, but I would imagine that it is similar to the high school scene in the fact that many coaches only care about winning state. Therefore, writing the state series would cause coaches to want to practice and play on questions similar to the ones that would help them transition to high school. I am unfirmiliar with the IESA's questions or their methodology of choosing question providers, but I do not think it would be hard to get a group of Illinois players to write questions for whatever cost they are paying now (I would contribute).

I also think that the transition from Frosh/Soph to Varsity needs to be addressed, as playing Patrick's Press is not helping anyone transition to high school varsity. If more people could host Frosh/Soph tournaments on good questions like you (Mr. Riley) do, then we would see more players emerge as varsity stars at younger ages instead of being late bloomers like David Garb or not playing at all. Finally, I think coaches need to take Freshman and Sophomores to Varsity tournaments. When you look at a kid like Zahed from Auburn, it is easy to see that playing on Varsity questions as an underclassmen can benefit a player a ton. Unfortunately, it seems that only Loyola, New Trier, and Auburn seem to understand this.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by AlphaQuizBowler »

Send to this site. Speaking as a good middle school player who has become a decent high school player, I can say I owe the tips I used to transition from MS to HS to this site. Have them read the Best of the Best articles and follow your state's discussion. Have them read quizbowlpackets.com packets alone before trying them in practice so they get used to the style.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

David Riley wrote:For several years, I have hosted a middle school tournament and with the relatively recent move toward better quizbowl in Illinois, I've been trying to find a transition between middle school quiz bowl, which in most cases is not only casual but in some camps is almost exclusively pop-culture driven, and high school quizbowl along the lines of ACF, etc. Any tips?
After my successful push to eliminate consumer(ism) economics from the social studies category (actual social studies toss-up from years past, "What car company advertises that it's trucks are 'like a rock'?") I'm curious to see what the 2008-2009 sets will look like from dear old QGalore. I'm sure they'll still have their occasional hose and the "blah blah blah. Question!" format, but we'll see. Would you care for me to forward a set if I get my hands on one?

ALSO, what Mr. Bergeron said. Coaches care about reaching that next level. I'd be terribly pleased to return to state as our path was blocked for far too long by a certain Stevenson player named Zach! But I digress. One of the criticisms of last year's tourney of mine was that the pyramidal questions were too different from the usual and weren't helpful to teams trying to prepare for state. So, his take is dead on. Nonetheless, we're doing it again. My question writer will have a set or two delivered to me soon, and I have some volunteers to edit and revise the questions that need it! Anyone else whod' care to sign on should do so in the Tournament thread.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Kouign Amann »

I feel that not only practicing on high school questions, but also attending as many high school tournaments as I could while in middle school greatly helped my development as a player. Admittedly, since my school is 6th-12th grades, I was part of an actual high school team as early as seventh grade; I realize this is not an opportunity to available to all. Playing high school tournaments, often getting crushed by far superior teams, was a great preparatory experience for playing on the A team starting this year. Also, as mentioned above, this site is a valuable resource to players of all ages; I found it in the beginning of this year, and I have found the information to be extremely helpful. Going hand in hand with that and also in the vein of "quizbowl in teh internets" are the various packet archives that can be found. There is an almost limitless supply of practice material with which the budding player can improve; I suggest steering as many players as are willing to put in the work to many of the high-quality sets available.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

Prof.Whoopie wrote:I feel that not only practicing on high school questions, but also attending as many high school tournaments as I could while in middle school greatly helped my development as a player. Admittedly, since my school is 6th-12th grades, I was part of an actual high school team as early as seventh grade; I realize this is not an opportunity to available to all.
Especially in Illinois, where the IHSA explicitly forbids teams in any activity or sport from playing anyone other than other high schools. IESA, the middle school coutnerpart, has the same rule. Word has gotten out about a couple of recent state champs scrimmaging against high school programs, which led to line one of this year's activity update.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Kouign Amann »

Woody Paige wrote:
Prof.Whoopie wrote:I feel that not only practicing on high school questions, but also attending as many high school tournaments as I could while in middle school greatly helped my development as a player. Admittedly, since my school is 6th-12th grades, I was part of an actual high school team as early as seventh grade; I realize this is not an opportunity to available to all.
Especially in Illinois, where the IHSA explicitly forbids teams in any activity or sport from playing anyone other than other high schools. IESA, the middle school coutnerpart, has the same rule. Word has gotten out about a couple of recent state champs scrimmaging against high school programs, which led to line one of this year's activity update.
I see. . . There's no kind of workaround to the state format? If not, I guess practices in the form of competitive intrasquad games with high school questions would be a form of substitution, albeit without the quality opponents from whom to learn good ways of playing. You can still have the harder questions. That is a good point, I think: keep practice competitive.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by at your pleasure »

I feel that not only practicing on high school questions, but also attending as many high school tournaments as I could while in middle school greatly helped my development as a player. Admittedly, since my school is 6th-12th grades, I was part of an actual high school team as early as seventh grade; I realize this is not an opportunity to available to all.
Also, if you are the only person on your team interested in playing high school tournaments or if there is some kind of institutional obstacle, then it might be worth a try to contact people on other teams and arrange to form mixed teams.
Especially in Illinois, where the IHSA explicitly forbids teams in any activity or sport from playing anyone other than other high schools. IESA, the middle school coutnerpart, has the same rule.
So the "Only 5 person teams count as teams" loophole does not work? If not, I suppse you could play on a fictive school's team with psudonyms. Ulness they've thought of that too.
Douglas Graebner, Walt Whitman HS 10, Uchicago 14
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

Not sure how they'd respond to individuals going around association by-laws. I know that high school athletes who play on, say, a club team during the school year are ineligible to play that sport for their high school team. That's the closest anaolgy I can think of.
The 5-member team rule is an IHSA loophole that allows scholastic bowl teams to play in extra events beyond the "18 dates" rule. Frankly I could give a hoot if Loyola wants to play the Catholic junior highs around them since none of them are IESA members. But, as a middle school coach, I play by the rules presented to me and find it irksome that teams have won championships using methods expressly forbidden by the association they choose to be a part of. To be fair, though, I think these coaches simply didn't about that rule (one was a freaking advisory board member who unwittingly confessed his violation in front of other coaches while discussing training strategies! :shock: ). That's why it's getting such high-profile treatment this year.
Jeff Price
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

Why not just go "that rule sucks, I don't care what other people do about it" instead of obsessing over other coaches maybe not following it. I know if I was a coach in Missouri and found out a high schooler went to college tournaments I would never report it even if it benefited my team because I think that rule is not right, so I don't see any difference here.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Matt Weiner »

Woody Paige wrote: teams have won championships using methods expressly forbidden by the association they choose to be a part of
Your definition of "choose" is wanting. This thread demonstrates that nothing in Illinois can be fixed until the fundamental structural problems in Illinois are fixed.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by David Riley »

Thanks for the tips....I think the best one for now is to try and get the teams to use better questions (and Messrs. Price and Wehrman have already been instrumental in getting this started) and to promote this board. One thing that might help the "middle schools not playing high schools rule" is that there are an increasing number of acceleration programs (e.g. advanced tracks where eighth graders can take classes at a local high school) that MAY--and I use that word guardedly--eventually force the IHSA's hand. We'lls see what happens.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

Jeremy Gibbs Free Energy wrote:Why not just go "that rule sucks, I don't care what other people do about it" instead of obsessing over other coaches maybe not following it. I know if I was a coach in Missouri and found out a high schooler went to college tournaments I would never report it even if it benefited my team because I think that rule is not right, so I don't see any difference here.
OK. Fair enough, Mr. Dees. You advocate selective enforcement of rules, laws, etc. as long as they fit your beliefs. As a teacher, I don't have that benefit. I'd seriously have a lot to answer for if it came back to the Board of Education that I won a state championship by not following the rules. I could easily see them forcing my resignation for being a negative influence on their children (and no, I'm not being cute).
And trust me, I ignore plenty of rules violations as they occur at matches and tournaments, even though they might benefit my team. One last thing, has any team in Illinois been stripped of their state championship as a result of practicing against high schools? No. I'm one of the few privvy to the fact that it's happened, but do you see any investigations launched by the committee I sit on? NO.

Mr. Weiner,
Far less than half the junior high school buildings in Illinois are members of the IESA, so, yes, I'd say "choose" to be members. There's a whole other org that sanctions quizbowl (Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association), and a plethora of people that play their activities independent of any statewide org. So, I'll stand by my choice of wording.
Jeff Price
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Awehrman »

Another thing that might force administrators' hands is the presence of siblings on middle school and high school teams. In middle school many years ago, I practiced with my older brother who was on the varsity high school team in informal practices, and we shared study materials and things. I also played in some high school tournaments when I was in middle school but stretched the rules in a different way than has been suggested. I don't know how common this is any more, but several tournaments used to call for extra players at the beginning of a tournament to form an "alternate team" to fill out the field. The team would be composed of players from various schools who would not get much playing time otherwise. I often went to watch varsity tournaments (a good way for middle schoolers to experience high school play), and whenever they would form an alternate team, I was first in line. One of the highlights of my young quizbowl career was beating a varsity team when I was in 8th grade and nearly making the playoffs as "Alternate Team 1." I would imagine that alternate teams would be against the rules even without middle schoolers playing on them in Illinois and Missouri now, though.

Yes, I hope the Junior Wildcat is well-received and teams warm up to and begin to demand better quality questions. I am encouraged by the number of teams signed up for our tournament and Barrington's tournament, since both were advertised using pyramidal tossups and in our case, ACF style bonuses.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

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Woody Paige wrote:OK. Fair enough, Mr. Dees. You advocate selective enforcement of rules, laws, etc. as long as they fit your beliefs. As a teacher, I don't have that benefit.
First of all, it doesn't seem unimpeachably true that this rule even applies everywhere. E.g. if a middle schooler plays on a mixed team for a tournament that technically isn't Scholastic Bowl, does that violate this rule? What is this rule, precisely? Why does it exist?
Secondly, if you're teaching people that it's right and necessary to follow the rules regardless of their justness or spirit (or really regardless of anything as seems to be your position), I sincerely hope you'll reconsider that position. I doubt I'm alone in that sentiment.
Woody Paige wrote:Far less than half the junior high school buildings in Illinois are members of the IESA, so, yes, I'd say "choose" to be members. There's a whole other org that sanctions quizbowl (Southern Illinois Junior High School Athletic Association), and a plethora of people that play their activities independent of any statewide org. So, I'll stand by my choice of wording.
Okay, but who made this choice? Probably not anyone connected with quizbowl, right? So casting this is a matter of pure choice that entails further things is imprecise at best.

MaS
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Sen. Estes Kefauver (D-TN) »

I'd seriously have a lot to answer for if it came back to the Board of Education that I won a state championship by not following the rules. I could easily see them forcing my resignation for being a negative influence on their children (and no, I'm not being cute).
I'm not telling you that you have to break the rules. I'm telling you that it doesn't seem worthwhile to dwell on other teams breaking flawed rules because those rules are flawed. It's their choice to do something that potentially hurts their team through getting sanctioned, and I see no reason to facilitate the process of hurting them for something cool that they do. Also, I don't believe for a minute that breaking a nutty IESA rule about quizbowl would force you to tender your resignation, because people just don't care that much.
As Mike and Matt suggested, the word choice to describe participation in the IESA is, uh, tenuous at best when discussing coaches playing quizbowl. Sure, someone at their school chose to join the organization, but I don't believe for a second that coaches made that choice. In Missouri, schools "chose" to join the MSHSAA, but that was because they offered the only state championships for major sports, and the decision was made by the administrators at our school, so if they wanted to offer sports and be like every other high school they had to, or else they would be banned from playing said sports against MSHSAA members. I have a very hard time believing that the IESA is any different in origin.
Charlie Dees, North Kansas City HS '08
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Matt Weiner »

This exchange is pretty much what Illinois is all about: viewtopic.php?p=114239#p114239 . If you're teaching your students to get ahead by getting their opponents disqualified over ridiculous rules, rather than by getting better at playing by means of learning things, then you are not teaching them properly.

The rules are so bad that they are preventing good tournaments from emerging. The first priority for anyone who claims to be interested in bringing good tournaments to Illinois must be to get the rules changed.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

Mike and Andrew,
I know of no rule that prohibits mixed teams from forming at scholastic bowl tournaments under IESA or IHSA rules. If there is, that's news to me.
Secondly, if you're teaching people that it's right and necessary to follow the rules regardless of their justness or spirit (or really regardless of anything as seems to be your position), I sincerely hope you'll reconsider that position. I doubt I'm alone in that sentiment.
OK, so give me the rationale for ignoring this rule. How is it a moral imperative that I ignore it?

Charlie,
A 30-year veteran in my school just got canned for using the word "idiot" in class. I think I have a good grip on what is and isn't cricket with my administration.
The 'choice' schools make to play IESA scholastic bowl is truly a choice. No non-member is blackballed from competing against the IESA schools. The only compeling reason to join IESA is to play for a "state" championship. Want to play for the "state championship", then I think you should adhere to the rules of that association.

And finally, it strikes me that this notion of "play older kids to get better" is symptomatic of a coach who doesn't know how to train their kids to be better. I train my kids well enough that I don't need to expose them to beatdowns from older kids just to get them ready to play kids their own age.
Jeff Price
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Captain Sinico »

Woody Paige wrote:OK, so give me the rationale for ignoring this rule. How is it a moral imperative that I ignore it?
As I understand it, the rule seems to exist for no reason other than hamstringing those who want to excel on their own merits. I see no benefit it provides whatsoever. More generally, it represents excessive regulation (because it provides no benefit) against which you ought to stand.
Tell me: What exactly is this rule? Since you're telling me it doesn't forbid mixed teams... what does it do? Perhaps it just forbids practicing together? Okay, so have ersatz tournaments every day after school, then. What positive benefit do you think this rule, whatever it is, provides?
Woody Paige wrote:A 30-year veteran in my school just got canned for using the word "idiot" in class.
I doubt that's the whole story but, if it or something close to it is, you've got an out-of-control administration and that's your problem. It's special pleading to say "Hey, I have to follow unjust rules because our administration will kill the entire town if someone lets an ice cream cone drip." I realize that the unjustness of the rule is an open question; I'm just saying that the insanity of your administration has no bearing on the fairness of this rule and consequently likewise has no bearing on whether you ought to follow it or not.
Woody Paige wrote:The 'choice' schools make to play IESA scholastic bowl is truly a choice.
The question remains: a choice on whose part? Nobody's holding a gun to anyone's head, obviously, but then, nobody ever has been, even in the case of incredibly coercive (to quizbowl) organizations like MHSSA or IHSA. Could you opt out of the IESA if you wanted? Could anyone in quizbowl?
Let's look at what you're saying. You're making the following two claims:
1. That IESA membership is a choice whole-sale
and
2. That if you break/skirt what is apparently a not especially important IESA by-law, you are subject to consequences up to and including firing for corruption of the youth.
That doesn't add up. Why would you choose to be in the IESA when doing so hangs that Damoclesian sword over you? After all, even if you do walk the straight and narrow, anyone could level unfounded accusations at you: that happens all the time, as I'm sure I don't need to tell you. What if your administration believes one?
Woody Paige wrote:And finally, it strikes me that this notion of "play older kids to get better" is symptomatic of a coach who doesn't know how to train their kids to be better. I train my kids well enough that I don't need to expose them to beatdowns from older kids just to get them ready to play kids their own age.
This thread is about getting middle school players ready to play in high school. Many current high school players have claimed it's been salubrious to their development as high school players to have had early exposure to the high school game, which is about the most sensible thing possible. I'll accept that you're unconvinced that playing the high school game is good for the development of middle school players as middle school players; that's not what this thread is about.
Even given that, your assertions here miss the mark by a pretty wide margin in a variety of ways. For example, nobody has said that one has to "play older kids to get better"; that was merely suggested as one strategy among many, whose effect is presumably additive to some extent. Consequently, you have erected a strawman here and then failed to trounce even that in a convincing fashion.

MaS
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Woody Paige wrote:And finally, it strikes me that this notion of "play older kids to get better" is symptomatic of a coach who doesn't know how to train their kids to be better. I train my kids well enough that I don't need to expose them to beatdowns from older kids just to get them ready to play kids their own age.
There's a certain point past which this is no longer true, however. In practice, whenever Yi or John are around, I get beaten to pretty much all the math and physics. They tell me that there are certain points where they buzzed where I absolutely need to buzz to be competitive. I take note of them; I learn; I become a smarter player. Now, if you're at the point where you know the entire middle school canon and most of the high school canon, so you can help teams take this next step yourself, then kudos. But if that is so, then you're an exceptional coach.

The most influential way teams get better is by losing to better teams and trying to figure out what separates them from the next tier.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

Thanks you for recognizing my excellence, Mr Watkins! :wink:
But seriously, I DO understand what Dees & Sorice are arguing, and I believe that middle schoolers playing high schoolers is great experience, and if that option is available, then I'd say, 'take it'. I don't really have the time to launch into the research, but I know you have to have a team of 5 kids who attend your school to play in any IESA/IHSA State Series playoff game. For the regular season? No such rule. This is why you get chimera teams or short-handed teams at tournaments here; because the State Series rule isn't in effect. The IESA rule about playing other schools of your own level is found here:
IESA wrote:2.081 Member schools may permit eligible students to participate in interscholastic activities as school representatives
pursuant with the following:
Schools which are members of this Association.
Illinois elementary attendance centers containing any of the grades five through eight which are not
members of this Association.
Non-Illinois elementary attendance centers in states adjacent to Illinois which contain any of the grades five
through eight. Member schools on the Illinois borders should indicate on schedules whenever a school is
outside Illinois.
2.082 Member schools may not permit students to participate as school representatives in interscholastic activities with high
school or non-school groups. Please check with the Illinois High School Association (IHSA) regarding their policy on
high school students practicing with students in grades 5-8.
2.083 Member schools are not allowed to practice against other schools or allow students from their own school to practice
with a different school.
So, until that rule goes away, I jeopardize my school's standing for scholastic bowl with the IESA by playing IHSA schools or students. It'd be interesting to take my MS players to the D&G....
Back to Mike...
1. That IESA membership is a choice whole-sale
Yep. End of story. The fact that they really have no way of compelling people to join is found in 2.081 above. I could ask my AP to not sign us up for IESA scholastic bowl. He'd be stunned, I'm sure. But there'd be no benefit to quitting the IESA as my path to 'better quizbowl through playing up' is blocked by the IHSA anyway.
2. That if you break/skirt what is apparently a not especially important IESA by-law, you are subject to consequences up to and including firing for corruption of the youth.
That doesn't add up. Why would you choose to be in the IESA when doing so hangs that Damoclesian sword over you?
Coaches in all activities and sports follow rules all the time. It's really not that hard. And I'd consider all of the by-laws to be pretty important to the people who implement them. Do you remember the story of the Springfield Franklin MS coach who got reported for inserting a player not on his roster in garbage time of a regional playoff game? Franklin had to forfeit the win and return their trophy. I can't imagine he got fired for it as it was really an innocent mistake. I, on the other hand, could see myself in a heap of trouble if we win state, the administration parades us in front of the Board of Education to shake hands and take pictures with a trophy, only to be stripped of it for a provable by-law violation I knowingly committed.
Now, rip away on the injustice of one of the top Illinois teams being denied the chance to win state. I'm on your side. His school gained NO advantage from inserting that kid in a garbage time situation. Practicing against high schoolers, OTOH, is a definite advantage, as has been asserted here in this thread. But is it available to all schools? The K-8 building that is miles away from the small high school it feeds into is at a decided disadvantage to a 6-12 building where the kids could walk down a hallway to practice against the varsity. That, I believe, is why the rule is in place.
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Mechanical Beasts »

Woody Paige wrote:Practicing against high schoolers, OTOH, is a definite advantage, as has been asserted here in this thread. But is it available to all schools? The K-8 building that is miles away from the small high school it feeds into is at a decided disadvantage to a 6-12 building where the kids could walk down a hallway to practice against the varsity. That, I believe, is why the rule is in place.
I mean, the same argument could be made to place all tournaments at some point equidistant from competing schools, to make it equally inconvenient to attend. Some people always have more resources than others; as I stare at my chem textbook, "time" comes to mind. But tons of people take hard classes. On the other hand, I have an advantage because my classes might help me (okay, do help me) more for quizbowl than someone studying business. That advantage isn't unfair. Just as those students could take science electives and benefit that way, middle schoolers without an adjoining high school can go to high school tournaments.

Besides, you're all at a disadvantage, then, simply because you're not from DC. But we allow DC area teams to compete against each other.
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Matt Weiner »

Woody Paige wrote:I, on the other hand, could see myself in a heap of trouble if we win state, the administration parades us in front of the Board of Education to shake hands and take pictures with a trophy, only to be stripped of it for a provable by-law violation I knowingly committed.
As you may recall, what you were originally arguing for was not the perfectly understandable position of "I myself should follow the unreasonable rules so that I do not cause myself to be fired," but rather the much different position of "I should be annoyed when other teams do not follow the unreasonable rules because, even though I admit that breaking these rules does not actually affect the outcome of the competition, I consider this non-advantage-gaining rule-breaking to be cheating for some reason." You have also not really addressed whether or not you hold the entirely indefensible position of "I would attempt to gain an advantage for my team, jeoparding the other team's players and coach in the process, by reporting them for a violation of an unreasonable rule."
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by the return of AHAN »

Matt Weiner wrote:This exchange is pretty much what Illinois is all about: viewtopic.php?p=114239#p114239 . If you're teaching your students to get ahead by getting their opponents disqualified over ridiculous rules, rather than by getting better at playing by means of learning things, then you are not teaching them properly.

The rules are so bad that they are preventing good tournaments from emerging. The first priority for anyone who claims to be interested in bringing good tournaments to Illinois must be to get the rules changed.
Sorry, didn't mean to ignore you. I am comfortable that I teach my players to win the 'right' way and not by forfeits and disqualifications. One of my best teams ever had a triangular meet where an opponent had obviously heard the submitted question set previously, and by that I mean, buzzing 7 words into a question before any uniquely identifying information had been given. At halftime, I discreetly asked the moderator for a replacement set of questions for the 2nd half. We lost the match by 20 points, and I lauded my kids for the great 2nd half comeback and resliency they showed. They got their comeuppance 2 months later when we faced them again in sectionals and hammered them easily on fair questions.
I never harp on rules violations at matches, even though my team occasionally incurs a penalty; maybe because someone didn't put a pencil down, or some inane such thing. In such cases, I tell the kid it's my fault for not emphasizing that in practice. I want my team to win, but I want to win the right way. Not by cheating, and not by lawyering every rule in the book.
Jeff Price
Barrington High School Coach
Barrington Station Middle School Coach (2013 MSNCT Champions, 2013 & 2017 Illinois Class AA State Champions)
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Re: Transition from Middle School to High School

Post by Captain Sinico »

Let me start with the last thing you said because it underpins the other stuff I'm saying:
Woody Paige wrote:Practicing against high schoolers, OTOH, is a definite advantage, as has been asserted here in this thread. But is it available to all schools?
Consider the strong form of the argument you've made: no school ought to be allowed to deploy any resource unless it's equally available to all other schools. But this is absurd! You wouldn't be allowed to practice, for example, because some players don't have time to; you wouldn't be allowed to use the library, because some teams don't have access to a good one; you'd have to field a team of exactly state mean intelligence and socioeconomic level; the ability to attend many tournaments is a huge advantage only available to teams from schools with money and dedicated coaches, so you can only go to the the one each year; etc. I hope this makes my point that the spirit of this rule is not a positive one for the game, or for the young people playing it.
Also, to answer your question, this is an advantage that really ought to be available about equally to everyone since presumably, everyone lives within reasonable distance of a high school. This is especially equitable when you consider the much more important effect en bloc of things like scholastic aptitude or socioeconomic level that the IESA has no hope of ever controlling.
So, in short, I find this a massively wrong-headed idea designed to hamstring those trying to excel in what is at very best a misguided attempt to level the playing field. The players' development as people, students, and players should be the paramount objective of this game. We should be creating rules that encourage everyone to pull toward the top, rather than trying to hold everyone down to some mean below their potential. The right thing to do, therefore, is to allow players to grow in any way that isn't to their detriment as young people.
Woody Paige wrote:...I believe that middle schoolers playing high schoolers is great experience, and if that option is available, then I'd say, 'take it'.
Okay: that 'great experience' ought to be available to your students, but is not because* the organization you choose to be in denies it by fiat! How can that possibly be right? You're currently saying: "I willfully deny students something I acknowledge to be a 'great experience' by my own choice."
I do understand that you're saying you see the need to balance providing that experience against playing in the State Series. To be honest, were I in your position, I would probably have my team play IESA, too. However, I would constantly decry this IESA policy and militate to have it changed. I would certainly never defend it, which is what I see you doing here. If I've misunderstood and you're only defending your decision to play IESA in spite of these terrible rules, then I apologize for misreading you. I hope you'll work to get this rule changed and let me know if there's anything I can do to that end.

Thanks for clarifying that you can withdraw your program from the IESA. That does clarify things somewhat. I still don't agree with the IESA's position here ("Play by our rules, however unfair/wrong-headed/hypocritical/depriving to students, at all times or you can't play in our state tournament") but it's useful to contextualize the extent of the rule's effect.
Woody Paige wrote:Coaches in all activities and sports follow rules all the time. It's really not that hard. And I'd consider all of the by-laws to be pretty important to the people who implement them.
Right, but not all those rules are wrong-headed and designed to retard the development of students. Nor do those rules generally bear the potential penalty of having the coach fired entirely.

MaS

*At least in no small part because. I understand there are some interlocking IHSA rules, but that's not a proper justification: rather, it's a use of other bad rules to bolster these ones. In fact, this to me is an argument against these rules, even if we assume that they are a good thing (as they are redundant.)
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