Ahead in the Count

Diving in Headfirst

posted by Brendan Sullivan

Why dip your toe into the blogosphere for the first time when you can dive headfirst? I can’t think of a good reason, so my first post will be shaped like a grenade, sans pin, and lobbed into the offices of one of the planet’s most influential newspapers.

Last night when I went to bed, as has been the case on each evening of my 33 years, I tossed and turned, lamenting the fact that there existed no established rating system for high school quarterbacks. No way to offically compare the up-and-coming JV passers at Quince Orchard and Seneca Valley when selecting my high school fantasy team each autumn. No way to determine who’s 3-for-7 for 43 yards was truly the better performance. Thankfully, Jeff Nelson has solved this problem today on page E1 of the Washington Post, by debuting The Washington Post High School Passer Rating. Tonight, I will rest peacefully.


Jeff describes The Post’s rating system as follows: “Like the others, it is strictly a measure of passing. It is not meant to judge overall quarterback quality, because there’s no feasible way to include rushing statistics or the glorified intangibles associated with being a quarterback: leadership, poise, penchant for last-minute heroics, etc.”

I describe The Post’s rating system as follows: total garbage.

Aside from the absurdity of creating a statistic that compares quarterbacks with no variable to account for the fact that some play against the competition of small private school leagues and others in massive public school districts, do we really need another statistic in youth and amateur sports? Another way for high school athletes and coaches to compare themselves to or rank themselves against one another while losing focus on why prep sports exist in the first place? Why bother trying to include “glorified intangibles” such as leadership, poise and penchant for heroics? Perhaps because that’s why the games are supposed to be played – to teach our young people how to compete, how to control their emotions in the heat of that competition, how to become leaders, and how to care as much about their teammates than their own success and statistics.

The two young men featured in the article, Curran Chabra of Churchill HS in Potomac, MD (outside of DC) and Mike Mooney of Wooton HS in Rockville, MD, are both having wonderful seasons (as are their teams) and deserve the recognition given them in this article. I’d just rather read about what makes those two guys tick, which coaches in their past have had the most influence on them and what their youth sports expererience has done for them off the field – instead of an article that attempts to make an amateur sport more like its professional relative by concocting a statistical comparison that ignores everything that youth sports is supposed to be about.




November 12, 2008 - Posted by | Media Commentary, written by Brendan Sullivan

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