Zone Read: All I Want For Christmas

Arizona Sports News online

May the rest of this week and the remainder of December be filled with time spent in the company of those close to you.

Nobody really knows what’s in store for next year but at least we’ll soon be closing the final chapter on what’s been a crazy ride in 2020.

Before it’s too late, “Zone Read” decided to drop this list.

I know, it’s really late…but that’s sort of typical of the last nine months, right?

All I Want for Christmas…

…is to never see another state championship game played under the same conditions Cactus and Mesquite had to a couple of weeks ago at Highland High School. “Zone Read” is curious to hear the AIA’s reasoning for holding the contest at a school with real “grass” and not the greatest lighting.

It didn’t help that the Valley was pelted with rain the day before the game but, quite frankly, you’d find better conditions at a nearby dog park. The dead grass and muddy field were insulting to the two teams who deserved far better, especially considering what was at stake.

Every Scottsdale and Paradise Valley District campus has beautiful, fast-draining field turf. Why not hold it at one of those east Valley venues?

All I Want for Christmas…

…is for Valley coaches and parents to PLEASE STOP using their social media platforms to dispute post-season awards their players/kids didn’t win for one reason or another.

Look, as someone who’s had to decide on “selecting” one great player for an honor over a host of, at times, equally qualified candidates – it’s not an easy and stress-free process. Whether it be pouring through stats or simply relying on the good ‘ole eyeball test, the line is usually a fine one. Trust me on that.

Not only is it unfair and trivial to put an organization on blast for their independent decisions, it devalues the accomplishments of the players who received the recognition. Don’t drag them into your mud for something they had absolutely nothing to do with.

If this miserable year taught us anything, I’d hope it would to be to be more selfless and humble – even when a decision is made that you don’t necessarily agree with. 

All I Want for Christmas…

…is for Desert Vista and Mountain Pointe to return to their consistent, winning ways.

There’s far too much tradition and pride for those Ahwatukee rivals to be nothing more than easy wins on opponents’ schedules and, quite frankly, afterthoughts in the Arizona high school football pecking order.

The southeast Valley is loaded with the usual heavyweights and 2020 saw a breakthrough season at Corona del Sol (Open Division birth) so there may be more pressure than ever for the Thunder and Pride to get off the mat and figure things out sooner than later.

It’s just “better” for AZHS football for both of these blue blood programs to be elite.

The good news is both have talent, especially young talent at Desert Vista, and each has the right head coach in place to resussitate the programs.

Eric Lauer will see better results entering his second season at MP and DV luring Ty Wisdom from Horizon is the absolute perfect fit, especially considering some of the offensive skill players returning next year.

All I Want for Christmas…

…is for the large number of 2021 college prospects to find homes before the late signing day on February 3rd. 

There have been a handful of players who have benefitted from waiting until the late signing period (uh, Brock Purdy) and while there is some risk involved, there is often opportunity and a whole bunch of moving parts, most of which these student-athletes have little or no control over.

From Dorian Singer, to Dane Christensen, to Ammon Allen, to Myles Taylor, to Max Minor, to DJ Gleash, to Luis Jaramillo – the list goes on and on. Quite simply, there are ballers all over this state and “Zone Read” hopes each and every one who hopes to play at the next level is given the opportunity because, as we’ve seen over the past few years at the college level, State 48 produces DUDES. 

The secret is out.

If you don’t believe me, wait until the spring showcase season and the flock of coaches who invade Arizona to check out the football talent.

All I Want for Christmas…

…is for there to be a FULL spring season, free from COVID starts, stops and other road blocks which hinder teams’ progress both on the field and in the weight room.

Nearly every high school coach screamed, “Uncle” in 2020 and some, particularly in southern Arizona, never even got spring ball started due to the pandemic.

Look, “Zone Read” has zero clue what to expect with COVID in the coming months but let’s be optimistic things will get better before they get worse.

After all, how is having a negative attitude going to help the situation?

Merry Christmas and talk to you again in 2021.

  

A Valley native, Eric has had a passion for the Arizona sports scene since an early age. He has covered some of the biggest events including Super Bowls, national championships and the NBA and MLB playoffs in his near 20 years in local media.