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Does it really matter who's No. 1 right now?

Posted Wednesday, May 5, 2010, at 8:59 PM

(Photo)
Jill Flater
When the April 27 Indiana Coaches of Girls Sports Softball came out, the Linton-Stockton Lady Miners were ranked second among the class 2A teams.

Heading the list was Wheeler, a team the Lady Miners beat in last year's state semifinals.

With that in mind it prompted me to inquire from Lady Miners' coach Jill Flater her thoughts on whether or not the team deserves to be ranked at the top of the heap.

Her answer, I must admit, didn't really surprise me.

Flater said "I don't really know much about Wheeler's schedule. I've look at it a couple of times and right now, to be honest with you, I don't pay much attention to the rankings."

That seems all well and good for a sports writer, but before you as sports fans speak out against her keep a few things in mind.

First of all, it doesn't really matter where you are ranked to begin with. Especially since we have a tournament system in place. A system that allows every team the opportunity to become a champion.

Secondly, how many teams in the past 10 or so years that have been ranked No. 1 in anything that DIDN'T win a state title can you name?

And third, being ranked No. 1 might be a great thing for individual egos, but in the end it's just a show of hands.

Flater said it best when she said "We try to focus on what we do, it's a great accomplishment to be up there, but we weren't up there at all last year and we went far.

"So on any given day, it's anybody's ballgame so it's not really something we think about or talk about. We're just kind of happy where we are."

Personally, I'm glad to see her with that attitude toward the whole thing. It gives me confidence and also tells me that there's still a lot of work to be done.

When you combine that with the visible signs that are present when the team takes the field, you get a sense that there's some unfinished business -- business that can only be wrapped up on the field at Ben Davis High School later in the spring.

Fans have indicated to me they think the Lady Miners should be ranked the top team in Class 2A, and I'd say I'd have to agree with them personally. But then I don't have a vote.

That falls into the lap of the coaches who belong to the association, most of which are located in the half of the state that lies north of Indianapolis.

And as we all know, that's where a lot more schools lie geographically, and thus get more votes.

Don't take anything that is voted on by a bunch of people who don't see the majority of the teams in action that they vote on.

Instead most of them vote based on a record printed somewhere or posted on the Internet.

If they had to actually lineup on the field and face the team or teams they're casting a vote for, it might be a different result.

Just keep in mind there's an old saying "what goes around, comes around". And believe me it also rings true in softball.

I have been involved in some form or another with softball for many years and have learned one thing above all else, just when you think you know what you're seeing, it will change.

While that may or may not ultimately hold true in this case, just keep in mind that right now, at this moment in the high school season, the Lady Miners are for real and pose a significant threat to all who oppose them on the field.

I'm not trying to cut any other team short, they all have the potential to do what the Lady Miners did last season, I'm just saying that anyone who holds a lot of credence in the ranking of other coaches (or anyone else, myself included) should really sit back and take a look at what lies ahead.

There's always going to be someone out there bigger, faster, stronger and maybe even smarter than you. But at the same time there's always someone out there that will overlook someone and will suddenly find themselves looking up and asking what happened.

So just keep supporting your team, no matter where they sit right now, and keep in mind one simple thing -- athletic contests of any kind are settled on the field of play and not by a show of hands.

Rick Curl is a sports writer with the Greene County Daily World. He can be reached by telephone at (812) 847-4487 or by E-mail at rcurl@gcdailyworld.com.



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