It seems like every time I turn around-every two years in reality-the LHSAA is proposing to put Minden in district 2. For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about, district 2 is the Monroe area district. Minden playing in the Monroe area district is about the same as Ruston or any Monroe area team playing in the Alexandria district. In fact, the drive from Monroe to Alexandria is about the same, or less, travel as Minden to Bastrop, or Minden to Winnsboro (Franklin Parish).
I understand what the LHSAA is trying to accomplish with this alignment. It must be terribly hard for Neville and Bastrop to fill out a schedule of ten games per year in football. However, that isn’t our fault. We shouldn’t be punished just to give them an extra district game per year.
We have much more in common with our area teams. Over the years, we have developed a healthy rivalry with Northwood and North Desoto. We have played the other teams in district 1 for many years. Why take that away now?
The LHSAA may say that an eight team district is too large, and that it needs to be more balanced, so they put Minden in district 2 to make this a six team district and to leave district 1 with seven teams. Again, this is not our fault. We didn’t ask Loyola to move up to 4A. If they wouldn’t have done this, it would be a seven team district 1. Let Loyola do all the traveling if they want to move up.
Plus, the proposed district 6-4A is a five team district. If five teams are good enough for district 6, five teams are good enough for district 2. In addition, the precedent for an eight team district 1 was set two years ago. Even now, with the proposed districts in 5A, there are three-yes, three-eight team districts. If it is good enough for 5a, it is good enough for district 1-4a. There is no argument that makes this first proposed alignment better than an alignment with Minden in district 1.
Doing the calculations, the mileage is ridiculous. Imagine if Minden traveled for every district game for mileage purposes. To play the five district games in district 2, the travel would be 423 miles, one way. To play the seven district games in district 1, the travel would be 259 miles, one way. The average for district 2 travel would be 85 miles and about 95 minutes to get to a game. The average for district 1 would be 37 miles and about 45 minutes. This proposal, when averaged out, doubles our travel for district games. We can’t afford this in a school district that just had to cut three million dollars from the budget.
On top of the time and money considerations, there are the fans. Minden fans travel well, and many times there are more Minden fans in the stands at visiting games than there are home team fans. This would very likely come to an end. When a parent gets off of work at 5:00, how in the world do you think they could make it to Winnsboro by 7:00? Or Bastrop? Or even Neville? The whole proposition must have been drawn up by someone who is very inconsiderate.
To summarize, Minden belongs in district 1-4A. We are a suburb of Shreveport/Bossier. Minden has played in this district for years and it is our geographic district. District 2 has played with five teams for years and have done just fine without Minden in their district. Heck, look at a map. Ray Charles could see in which district Minden belongs. Minden is not anywhere close to any team in district 2.
The LHSAA constitution, article 2.3, states that “the Association is vitally interested in the welfare of every boy and girl participating in its athletic contests. It is for the protection of their interests that the Association operates.” In what way does making Minden drive twice as far, spend twice as much money and time, put the parents and grandparents at a hardship, and give up natural geographic rivalries “protect the interest” of these boys and girls. I urge you to go back to the drawing board and put Minden back where they belong: district 1-4A.