By Richard Tripp
At what point is the North-South All-Star game not an exhibition and things go too far?
You may ask, why do I call the all-star game an exhibition? Well, that is the way I see it. I apologize if I offend a few people using this term to describe the games. I do not mean to degrade the games nor the participants. The players who play are well-deserving and want to play their best and want to win. That is all good, but those who attended this past weekend’s all-star games witnessed some pretty intense competition between graduating seniors from Class 3A schools in New Mexico. And I use the word intense pretty lightly. Those who were in attendance at the football game know how it ended. I am sure that the all-star committee did not script it in this fashion, and I am confident in saying that they were not at all happy about the ending. I will also say that the committee will take whatever measures necessary to make sure this does not happen again.
This game is supposed to be about fun and is supposed to be about players coming together from different parts of the state to be rewarded for their hard work during their high school career. This is the last game a lot of these players will participate in at the high school level, and less than a handful will go on to the next level. Which begs me to wonder — I know the players want to perform well and want to win, but to what extent? And do “some” of the athletes take this seriously and know what it is all about? In my opinion, it is obvious that the game got out of hand, and no, I will not blame the officials in either the basketball or football game. I believe they did a good job. They did what they were supposed to do in accordance of the rules. But who is to blame is the question. The coaches? The players? I am happy to say, from my point of view, no local athletes were involved. Perhaps nobody? Could it be that these players are housed together for a whole week and perhaps so much trash talking goes on that it all builds up? In any event, what happened happened and it was unfortunate that the football game and the week’s activities were tarnished in this way. And I want to point out again: the All-Star committee should not and will not be blamed.
So who is to blame? Got me.
In my speaking with several people from the community, some saw it as embarrassing, while others viewed the events on the field as hilarious. I will go with embarrassing. Some asked the same question I am asking, “Who is to blame?” As one person told me, “These are young men already. Why must they be told twice about their behavior?”
About the committee, great job once again to Connie Trujillo and his crew of volunteers. I emphasize the word “volunteers.” Putting this weeklong event together is never easy, but as evident by the crowds, the games is still as popular and well-attended as any in the state.
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Enough about North-South. Let’s share some good news. Props to Adrian Ortega. Adrian was recently let go from his head coaching duties at Sandia High School. I am glad to say that the Robertson graduate has landed the head coaching job at Oate High School in Las Cruces. Adrian told me that he was glad to be going to a school where their coaches are respected and treated well. I gave Adrian props back in December for dismissing several players from his team for shoplifting. One of them happened to be related to a very influential person. Adrian stuck to his guns, and like at other places in coaching today, it cost him. I still give him props for what he did and gained a ton of respect for him.
Before I depart I just want to give a shout-out to Charlie and Liz Sandoval over at Charlie’s Bakery and Caf; great job on keeping the all-stars fed at the banquet and pregame meals. Next time there, try the cinnamon roll with butter. Great!
Tripp — out!
Richard Tripp is a longtime local educator who writes sports stories for the Optic.