By Mark Powers
Playoffs — it’s known as winning time, where big time players make big time plays in big time situations. But shouldn’t the regular season have some meaning? The CAL playoffs begin this week for the men’s and women’s water polo teams, but honestly I don’t see the point of the league playoffs. No other sport has league playoffs — only water polo. Why can’t water polo decide its league champion based on regular season league record just like every other sport? Especially considering the fact that Rio Americano has won both the league regular season and league tournament for as long as anyone can remember.
So despite the added competition and experience of the league tournament, it also completely takes away from the regular season. Sure, the regular season has provided valuable experience for first year players such as Nick Piper (‘19) and underclassmen such as Sam Noonan (‘20), but at times it has been hard to get excited for games that really feel like they don’t mean much. All the goals scored by Jason Carrey (‘18), Luke Sorensen (‘19), and Owen Clark (‘19) are really meaningless beyond seeding for playoffs, which of course helps, but isn’t a big deal.
The regular season really feels meaningless at times, which makes it hard to get up for games after a long school day. In my mind and in most of the players’ mind, we’ve moved on to the section playoffs, where we chase the ultimate goal. The league playoffs are ultimately decided before they really start, unless someone somehow pulls off the upset of the century. So why not move on to the section playoffs, which is what we all really care about? Declare the team with the best regular season record the league champion and let us move on to sections, where we actually have a chance to play for something that we care about and will remember forever.