Neutral really means revenue

Posted Nov. 04, 2010, at 5:58 p.m.
Last modified Nov. 05, 2010, at 12:22 a.m.

Forgive me for my inquiring mind, but what is the decision process for the MPA in selecting the host sites for state championship games? This year’s games feature four “County” schools, or 25 percent of the field, and the respective high schools are traveling a combined 694 miles. You could add in another 200, if both Fort Kent teams weren’t on the same bus, and there is probably a chance they travel separately depending on game times.

I guess my real question is does “neutral” site really mean “revenue” site? The Caribou girls are traveling all the way to Falmouth on Saturday for their state championship game. Falmouth is 294 miles from Caribou, their opponent happens to be Falmouth. Quick math shows the difference in miles to be 294. Not to mention Falmouth is playing a state championship game at home!

I am by no means picking on Falmouth or any of the southern Maine schools who are playing on Saturday. I am just trying to wrap my head around how the sites of Hampden and Falmouth are neutral. When digging a little deeper and looking into the mileage of who has traveled what distance in comparison to Eastern Maine and Western Maine the results speak for themselves. The Eastern Maine schools will travel a combined 1,289 miles one way (Fort Kent was counted twice to account for both teams, as well as Bangor). The Western Maine teams will travel a combined 483 miles, with the bulk of that coming from Sacopee Valley (Hiram), which will venture to Hampden Academy.

Naturally, I am partial to the County schools because that is where I went to high school and you just have to get used to the travel. Two Saturday’s a month are spent up and down the interstate competing in athletic contests. I will be the first to tell you that I wouldn’t trade my experiences for anything and you learn a lot about your team on those long trips. However, when it involves a state championship and the sites are supposed to be neutral, I have a hard time seeing neutral in an example like this year.

I can tell you that the kids and coaches don’t care where the games are played and they will get after it anywhere, but at least show a little effort in trying for neutral ground. If what you are looking for is a turf field, a field that allows you to collect a gate and has lights, may I suggest The Johnson Athletic Complex in Presque Isle. I’m sure Fort Kent would love to travel an hour south for their state championship game, almost as much as Portland, Scarborough and Falmouth will love to only have to travel a combined 20 miles for their games. Seems ridiculous to think that Falmouth would travel all the way to Presque Isle to play Caribou in a state championship game, but that is exactly what Caribou will be faced with when they travel to Falmouth on Saturday to play the home team.

CJ McKenna

Winslow

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