The Suburbanite
  • STEVE KING: Go, Green! … To the Federal League

  • By the middle of July, Green High School – actually, the Green school system – must decide if it wants to apply for membership in the Federal League. The league has been trying to woo Green for some time and, now more than ever, the district is taking a good, long, hard look at that possibility.

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  • Go Green.
    To the Federal League?
    Yes, absolutely, positively and without question.
    Really, do the Bulldogs have any other choice?
    By the middle of July, Green High School – actually, the Green school system – must decide if it wants to apply for membership in the Federal League. The league has been trying to woo Green for some time and, now more than ever, the district is taking a good, long, hard look at that possibility.
    On the surface, it might appear to many people to be a tough decision, and in many ways, it is.
    By leaving the Suburban League, Green would be breaking one of the most longstanding traditions in the region when it comes to league affiliation. The Bulldogs and Copley are the only two charter members left in the league from its formation 64 years ago, in 1949, or about four or so wars ago .
    To put that into perspective, Green High School didn’t even exist then. It was still known as Greensburg High, operating out of what became known as the Kleckner Elementary School building on Greensburg Road. It would remain so until 1956 when the first Green High School was constructed on Steese Road.
    The other charter members were Manchester, Hudson and Northfield-Macedonia, which is now Nordonia. Nordonia is still in the league but does not get credit for being a remaining charter member since it was out of the league from 1973 until rejoining in 2011.
    In addition to the five other schools that are currently members – Highland, Cloverleaf, Wadsworth , Revere and Tallmadge – the league has been made up through the years by such schools as Coventry, Norton, Boston Township (Woodridge), Chamberlin (Twinsburg), Mogadore, Field and Barberton.
    That’s a lot of schools over a lot of years that have come and gone – some more than one time – and yet Green has remained, becoming the league’s southeasternmost foundation, just as Copley has remained the foundation on the northwest end of the league.
    The rivalries in the league, especially with Copley and then over the past 30 years with Wadsworth, have been great. So has Green’s success. The school has won countless league titles in a variety of sports, both boys and girls.
    There are generations of Green High and Greensburg High students who know of nothing other the Suburban League. The league is familiar. It’s like that old friend – that well-worn shirt or that long-since broken-in pair of shoes that provide a wonderful sense of comfort.
    But things change and they have gradually changed for Green and the league over the years. No longer is the league the great fit – or even the good fit – that it once was for the school.
    Green High Principal Cindy Brown made the comment recently that the school wants to make sure that its athletes are constantly being challenged.
    Page 2 of 3 - Bingo! That’s the gist of this whole situation.
    What Brown was alluding to, but didn’t want to come right out and say in so many words is that Green has outgrown the Suburban League. There have been too many competitions against too many schools in too many events over too many seasons in which Green athletes weren’t pushed hard enough or long enough. That’s what happens when your overall enrollment is one of the biggest in the league, and your overall sports program is one of the best.
    There are win-win situations. This is a lose-lose situation. Nobody wins. Nobody benefits. The competition is not equal enough, fair enough and, as Brown said, not challenging enough for Green athletes.
    The object of athletics on the high school level is not to win championships, but to prepare young people for the next step – the next phase of their lives, their future.
    The only way to do that is for the athletes to realize they have to give it their all and be at their best all of the time. Green athletes don’t have that realization. They don’t have to. They can get by on less – much less, in some respects. They know it, and their opponents know it. You can’t fool young people. They have no problem accepting the truth.
    It wouldn’t be that way in the Federal League – not at all. There would be no pushovers, no weak sisters. Green athletes know they would have to bring their A game ever day, and so do the other schools in that league that are eagering awaiting the possibility that the Bulldogs might be soon joining the fray.
    And like it or not, economics are also a prime consideration in this day and age. They have to be.
    The fact of the matter is that Green, in the Federal League with Jackson and Lake, North Canton, GlenOak, McKinley and Perry, would have better gates – home and away – and stronger, more compertitive, across-the-board rivalries. That’s not a knock on Suburban League schools. It’s just reality.
    For Green to move forward athletically as a school system, it has to be in the Federal League.
    There is nothing – at least there should be nothing – holding Green back from making the move and tossing its hat into the ring for consideration as a league member.
    OK, there is something holding Green back, and it is all those memories from the decades spent in the Suburban League.
    Those memories won’t go away, though. They will remain always. They are forever etched into the minds of everyone who lived them.
    And speaking of such, there are new memories waiting to be made in the Federal League.
    Page 3 of 3 - For a school system – and a community – that has changed dramatically over the years, one that bills itself as being progressive and looks not at where it’s at now but rather where it wants to be in the future, the choice seems oh, so clear.
    Go Green.
    Go for it.

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