And I mean it this time.
Just like the gluttony that is annually witnessed in front of the Christmas turkey, this state has finally reached a point of no más with regular season basketball tournaments. It’s just too much.
And the pickings of teams are becoming so slim.
For the first time last weekend, Northern New Mexico was treated to a bracket that featured nary a sub-varsity team in the form of the Ben Luján Tournament. Prior to that, every single venue that had a bracket needed a JV — or worse, a C-team — to fill it out. That list includes one of the oldest and richest tournaments in the state, the Capital City Invitational.
What I feared happening almost five years ago (in a Jan. 1, 2008, column about this very same topic) is now clearly true.
The list of tournaments with sub-varsity teams littering them is quite impressive:
• The Al Armendariz Classic;
• The Santa Fe Indian School Super Classic (in its inaugural year, no less);
• The Capital City Invitational (boys and girls);
• The Taos Invitational;
• Desert Academy’s High Desert Classic (two C-teams).
You can also add the Laguna-Acoma Invitational to that list, as it had JV teams finish the bracket in the boys and girls. While these schools are trying to do the noble thing by trying to field a full bracket, those teams end up getting penalized for it.
David Rodriguez, the head boys basketball coach at Santa Fe High, already felt the nasty sting of playing a sub-varsity squad when it beat the Capital JV for fifth place of the Al Armendariz Classic. Then, the Demons had to beat West Las Vegas in the consolation semifinals in order to avoid another sub-varsity matchup — against its own JV, no less.
Prior to the Capital City invite, he made it clear the glut of tournaments was becoming a detriment.
“Everyone thinks they have a classic and everything is becoming watered down,” Rodriguez said. “There are only so many teams to go around. And teams are paying a lot of money for their tournaments and you want three quality games for sure. [At the Al Armendariz Classic], I’m not sure everyone got that.”
What hurts the local tournaments more than anything are the Albuquerque schools becoming off limits. In the past, Santa Fe High and Capital could count on a team or two for their tournaments, but the last school to come to the City Different was Volcano Vista in 2010.
Those schools are more content to play each other during the nondistrict season, with some matchups with Northern schools sprinkled into their schedules. But that’s just the tip of the iceberg. It’s hard to maintain the quality of a tournament when so many are competing for the same teams.
Who would have thought the Capital City would not have eight varsity teams? How soon before the Ben Luján and the Stu Clark meet their Waterloos?
If and when those happen, maybe then schools will realize what they are doing.
That day is coming rapidly.