Mediocrity in football … It all started 5 years ago with no hitting in practice. How can you prepare for the game of football if you don’t practice the game at full speed? I certainly don’t think you need to bang heads at practice every day, but you do need to practice what you play sometimes. Football is a violent sport. If you don’t want to experience it, don’t play it! … I see more hitting in 7 v. 7 passing leagues than I do at football practices. Not hitting at practice is harming players, who get an eye-opening experience when they get their bells rung in a game. They are simply not ready for the pounding. It’s better to experience some hits first from a team member who knows you rather than a player on the other side of the ball who wants to smash you.
What has this no-hitting, low-competition mindset helped produce? Mediocre teams here in the Conejo Valley. Former powerhouses like Westlake, Oaks Christian and Calabasas have been brought low. They are average teams now … No team in the Conejo Valley can compete with a top 10, or even a top 50, team anymore. It is sad … I loved it when one of our own local teams could compete statewide and expect to win!
Furthermore, last year we had record injuries, proving you need to practice like you play. Administrators who never played the game are not allowing the boys to practice properly. It is only common sense to practice like you play. We teach athletes to work hard and compete, and they will be rewarded. But the people behind the scenes want everyone to be the same… “Everyone gets a trophy,” also known as “parity in Conejo Valley football.”
CVUSD races to the bottom … What’s happening on the field is just an extension of what’s happening in the classrooms. Our school system is all-in on teaching our children mediocrity. I heard about a school that had 35 valedictorians. When I was in school in the ‘80s, we only had one! This is no way to teach young people to strive to be their best … CVUSD has completely taken its eye off the ball. The board just announced the creation of “The African American Parent Advisory Council” and the formation of a “Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer or Questioning and Others Advisory Council” to advise them … This is who our children are learning from in the Conejo Valley School District … Unbelievable.
Just as once-great football teams like Westlake, Oaks Christian and Calabasas, who competed with other great teams in California not too long ago, are a thing of the past, so CVUSD is racing toward the bottom … During the shutdown, CVUSD told students their grades were locked. Their grades couldn’t go down, but they could go up! Why are these people teaching our children? Newsflash: kids are resilient. If you push them, they will survive and strive to be better. That’s how to create greatness in the next generation. For CVUSD, the rally cry continues to be “Onward and downward.”
The only potential upside for football teams in the Conejo Valley is that this year, they could all play each other and be competitive … An awesome schedule would have all local teams playing each other! Some coaches would not like this because they would have to actually win to get to the playoffs — there’s a fast-disappearing concept … Imagine not cherry-picking bad teams to beat! If you look at the MaxPreps California state rankings, only two teams in the Conejo Valley are in the top 100 schools … How could this be since all teams in the Conejo Valley have winning records, except Oaks Christian (which is, in my opinion, the best team)? State rankings are not exact, but they give you an idea of how strong teams are, and rankings are how mediocre coaches choose their schedules.
Strength of team is measured not by record but by the teams you play. Coaches who want to look good play teams they have no business playing. A team ranked 46 in the state has no business scheduling a team ranked 539 — and the score shows it, 63-19! (See Simi Valley, below.) Oaks Christian has not won a game this year, but they have my respect because they want to play football teams that make a show of the game. They have lost 5 straight, but are a strong team … I would pick winless Oaks Christian over undefeated Simi Valley due to strength of schedule. Notice, too, that Newbury Park ran away from Westlake, Calabasas and Oaks Christian, then had to cancel two games against Los Angeles teams due to preposterous COVID regulations.