Commentary: Because It Ultimately Is A Disservice To Players, FCIAC Football Schedule A Failure

Many of the key points contained in the football schedule the FCIAC released on Wednesday morning were telegraphed ahead of time, so there was little in the way of surprises.

But seeing the changes in print set off a level of animosity I have not seen in over 30 years covering the league. Coaches spoke out angrily against FCIAC officials, in language and innuendo seldom heard. In one instance, a coach all but called the league’s executive secretary a liar.

As it stands now, the retention of the FCIAC championship game is the linchpin of the schedule and the lightning rod for the vitriol. To maintain the game, all but the two teams that qualify for the championship will play nine games, instead of the 10 allowed by the CIAC, which has capped the regular season because of concerns about concussions and other injuries.

The title game, played a week before Thanksgiving except on years when holiday rivals have been the finalists, will return to being played on Thanksgiving for the first time in two decades. To accommodate the continuation of the rivalry games, they will now be held on the Saturday prior to the final.


Approval Of FCIAC’s New Football Schedule Met With Heated Response By Coaches

A process that started five months ago, to develop a new FCIAC football schedule taking into account an array of constraints and changes, ended in controversy Wednesday morning, when the league unveiled its plan.

At the centerpiece of the schedule, which was voted on Tuesday night by the FCIAC board of directors, was the preservation of the league championship game, which will be held for the 50th time on Thanksgiving morning.

To keep that final required a lot of shuffling, including having all but the two teams that qualify play a nine-game schedule, one short of the maximum allowed by the CIAC, the state’s governing body for high school sports.

Also sacrificed are the popular Thanksgiving rivalry games, which will now be shifted to the prior Saturday and count toward determining the two division champions, in a new format, that will play for the title.


Midseason Softball Report: Can Anyone Stop St. Joseph From Running The Table?

April 15. A day that gave hope to an entire league. It was on that afternoon that Darien, down 5-0 after three innings, battled back to within a run of St. Joseph.

Alas, the Blue Wave loaded the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, unable to get the tying run across in what turned out to be a 5-4 loss.

But the takeaway was maybe, just maybe, somewhere down the line another team will have the Cadets against the ropes and then find a way to win.

It is a flicker because St. Joseph has looked unbeatable except for that one game. It has outscored opponents by a 75-11 margin. The closest games were won by four runs.


Midseason Baseball Report: Many Worthy Challengers For The Throne

Eight days ago Fairfield Warde was the final overall unbeaten team in the FCIAC, picking up where it left off after winning the conference title for the first time last season.

Three days later the Mustangs were sitting at 7-2 following back to back losses to Darien and New Canaan.

Was the team exposed as a fraud? Hardly. It instead lost to a pair of contenders, just as, the day before Darien, it defeated Staples.

Baseball is the hardest sport for forming long-term opinions because a skilled or hot pitcher can shut you down on any given day. It is extremely rare for a major league team to win two-thirds of its games.

In the FCIAC, that is a 14-6 finish. And right now there are a number of teams capable of reaching that mark. This has been a nice stretch for the league, which again is extremely strong.


Spicci, Osherow BlueStreak-Ruden Report Players Of The Week

Jon Spicci of the Ridgefield boys golf team and Erika Osherow of the Darien softball team are this week’s BlueStreak-Ruden Report Players of the Week.

Spicci and Osherow will each receive T-shirts and plaques from BlueStreak Sports Training.

Spicci shot a 37 in a win against defending state champion New Canaan and a 33 in the snow against Norwalk and McMahon, believed to be the lowest ever by a high school player on the Ridgefield course.

Osherow had 16 strikeouts and pitched a 1-hitter in a win over Fryeburg Academy, 15 strikeouts and pitched a 2-hitter in a win over Warde and 13 strikeouts and pitched a no-hitter in a win over McMahon. Offensively, Osherow was 7 for 10 with two home runs.


Commentary: Baseball And Softball Vs. Lacrosse? It Is Easy To See Why More Kids Are Choosing The Stick

Coaches in several sports lamented the skyrocketing popularity of another for several reasons: it is stealing away from their talent pool by a game many don’t fully understand and some think is downright boring.

Sound familiar?

Actually, that was the scene about three decades ago, one that lasted 10 years, as the youth soccer boom took off. Kids across the country were dribbling and heading balls. Size and gender didn’t matter, the sport was egalitarian. It was also popular on a social front, a way to make new friends.

Because the sport was then confined to the fall, it had little impact with males. Football ruled. But high school field hockey and volleyball coaches were upset how their school’s best athletes were no longer on their fields or inside their gyms.


Vote For The Ruden Report Team Of The Week

We have nine teams on the menu this week for The Ruden Report FCIAC Team of the Week vote.

Your finalists are: the Ridgefield boys golf, Ludlowe girls tennis, Danbury baseball, Westhill softball, Staples boys tennis, Darien baseball team, Greenwich boys lacrosse, Wilton girls lacrosse and New Canaan boys tennis teams.

The winning team will get our T shirts, courtesy of our sponsors: BlueStreak Sports Training, Karl Chevrolet, Innovative Health and Rehabilitation, Chicken Joe’s of New Canaan, Zody’s 19th Hole, New Balance of New Canaan, The CT Center for Advanced ENT Care, Ozone Fitness Center, Bankwell, Coastal Orthopaedics, Hoyt Livery, National Scouting Report, North Yellow Jackets Lacrosse, Splash Car Wash, Rhone Apparel, Darien Orthodontics, MJ Cognetta Electrical, CT Grizzlies Girls Lacrosse Club and Resource Management Group.