Losses now could pay off later for Chilton Co.

Published 10:10 pm Tuesday, February 23, 2010

For the coaches of high school sports teams, there are two approaches to scheduling: either you can schedule easy wins or you can schedule competition as good, if not better, than what you expect from your team.

(OK, so maybe there is a third approach, which would be scheduling teams that ensure the biggest gates possible. This is especially important for football, where teams have a limited number of chances to make the money so desperately needed by the most popular of the sports—and all the other sports.)

A coach might opt for the first strategy if he or she has a young team, one that needs more than anything to build some confidence by getting some wins.

Lining up tough competition, meanwhile, is a coach’s way of preparing his or her team for when the games really matter. Difficult early season games often pay off late in the year, at playoff time. When the postseason begins, some teams can be awed by the level of play if they haven’t already seen good teams and played at that level.

Chilton County baseball coach Josey Shannon surely is an Option 2 kind of person. Last year, his first, the Tigers played a nasty schedule.

This year, the slate is even more challenging. Just look at the names: Hoover, Tuscaloosa County, Alabama Christian, Northridge, Hillcrest-Tuscaloosa, Prattville, Vestavia Hills, Shelby County, Bibb County, Benjamin Russell, Smiths Station, Etowah, Spain Park, Clay-Chalkville and Chelsea.

Those are the non-region games, folks.

Considering that murderer’s row, it’s unrealistic to expect CCHS to emerge from the regular season with a sparkling record. In fact, the Tigers are off to a 1-6 start.

But Shannon and his team aren’t worried about their record.

“You’ve just got to look at who we’re playing,” Shannon said. “We’re just trying to get better. Our record doesn’t represent how good our team is.”

How could the Tigers show how good they are? By winning region games and making a run in the playoffs.

Just what Shannon has set them up to be able to do.