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An all-county rant

For those who don't know me as well as some of the longtime coaches, I take a tremendous amount of pride in the compilation of my All-Broward teams for each of the sport. Whereas others may take a few hours to put one together, I craft mine over a week or two. I try to speak with coaches and go off what I've seen. I go off a team's success. How far did they make it? Did they win titles? Were they clearly the best?

I factor everything in, but I ask for help. Too often, however, I don't receive it. We send ballots out to the schools' athletic directors, asking them to forward it to the appropriate person. I know this gets done because I'm the one who does it.

Yet, we do not get enough ballots back. When there is more time (like after the fall and winter seasons), I can call and track down information and get a truly polished and complete team.

Why do i bring this up now? With our annual All-Broward Athletic Awards breakfast rapidly approaching on May 22, we do not have the time to track down coaches and get information. We have to go with what we have. In softball, for example, ballots were due on April 21. I sent a final notice to schools on Apr. 24 (late at night) to let the athletic directors know their school's information was missing, and i set a final deadline of Apr. 25.

I got a few more in, but not nearly enough. I received information (either through ballots or from direct conversations with the coaches) from 24 of the 50 Broward schools with softball programs. Therefore, there are several teams with winning records that will be unrepresented or under-represented when the teams come out in May. Yes, I feel bad the kids from certain schools are not rewarded for their hard work, but what can I do? I am sure I will get e-mails asking how I could miss Player X? And, when I do, I will simply reply, "Because your school's coach failed to submit information."

Believe it or not, when I do Scholar Athlete or All-Broward teams, 60-70% of the work associated is tracking down coaches and athletic directors -- either through e-mail after e-mail or call after call -- just to get information. It is embarrassing that schools do not care enough to do the work for their athletes to receive recognition, but that is unfortunately how it goes.

Oh, in case you were wondering, softball is selected. First, second and third teams are all complete. Any tardy ballots will result strictly in names being added to honorable mention. I know this probably sounds a little harsh, but it is reality. I just hope the ballot submission rate improves in 2009.