As Columbia County's high school basketball coaches attended their school's final football game of the regular season, I'm sure on the surface they cheered on their student-athletes.
Some of them might secretly have been thinking, "You know, basketball season sure would start a lot more smoothly if our football team doesn't make the playoffs."
Most of them were granted that wish, as Augusta Christian was the county's only team to advance to the playoffs.
I'm being facetious, of course. No coach would wish ill will on any of the school's teams. For the most part, Columbia County athletics is marked by cooperation and support between coaches and teams, as is evident in seeing coaches and players attend other teams' games.
The bottom line, though, is that when sports' schedules cross over, as football's and basketball's do, extended runs into the playoffs can make for tough transitions once the football season ends.
Many of the county's basketball teams feature at least a couple of football players. That's because the physical skills needed for both sports are somewhat similar.
Basketball teams don't get much time to prepare for the season. The first official try-out/practice is Oct. 25, with the county's first games coming up on Tuesday. That's about three weeks of practice time.
The last regular-season football games were Nov. 5. Even without the possibility of playoffs, two weeks of practice time are gone.
If a football team advances to the second round of state, that would extend the season until Nov. 19, when the basketball team has started its season.
Some might make the point that the region schedule, clearly the most important portion because it has playoff implications, doesn't start until January. But preseason practice time can be crucial in establishing a team's leadership, its roles for different players, and its expectations.
It has to be difficult to go directly from football to basketball without any break. To go straight into playing games, without transition time and much practice, has to be tough.
The football season ended early for most of the county's teams. But maybe, it will translate to better team chemistry on the hardwood.
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