There was a high school swimming story you may have missed this past week.
This one didn’t take place in Port Charlotte or Venice, but a little bit further north.
How about Alaska? Anchorage to be precise.
It was there that Dimond High School swimmer Breckynn Willis was disqualified after winning a heat because an official decided that her swimsuit revealed a little too much of her rear end.
Keep in mind, she was wearing a school-issued swimsuit, the same as every other member of her team. Just as swimmers in our area and on high school swim teams everywhere do.
The official was allegedly enforcing a modesty rule, which the National Federation of State High School Associations says is in effect at high school swim competitions across the country.
Eventually, after a huge backlash, the Alaska School Activities Association reversed the disqualification. The association said it reversed the decision not because of a rule that on the surface appears to be at best ambiguous and, at worst, sexist.
It said the disqualification was overturned because the official didn’t notify the coach about “the problem” prior to the race, as apparently required by this bizarre rule.
All of this made me curious as to whether this is actually a rule on the books around the country and, particularly in Florida, or if “buttgate” (copyright pending) is just one of those weird Alaskan things. Some other examples of weird Alaskan things: Juneau (they know why), sled dog racing and, of course, Sarah Palin. But I digress.
I asked a couple of area high school swimming coaches about the situation, but they were understandably reluctant to weigh in. One coach was willing to acknowledge that he was aware of the rule, but couldn’t recall anyone ever being disqualified for it.
Officiating can be a difficult and thankless job, but when you are dealing with high school sports, you need to look at the participants as kids first and athletes second. By all means enforce the rules, but try to mix in a grain a common sense.
MONO Y MONO
I have a confession to make.
Despite spending most of my adult years covering sports, and despite living every other part of my life along conventional, some may even say boring lines, there is one area of which I’m deeply ashamed.
Yes, that’s right, I’m a New York Jets fan.
I know. I should know better.
Growing up in New Jersey, I could have picked the Giants, like all the other kids, or even dipped south and gone with the Eagles. But no, I picked the J-E-T-S.
After a lifetime of disappointment (which I passed on to at least one of my children, sorry Tommy), I assumed that I couldn’t be surprised anymore. After all, I barely blinked a few years ago when the Jets lost their starting quarterback to a broken jaw. So what if it was broken by one of his own teammates?
Well, this week we found out that franchise quarterback Sam Darnold will be sidelined for at least three weeks. What knocked him out? Not a sore shoulder. Not a bruised knee. Or even a broken finger. How about a bout of mononucleosis?
Now, I know this is a serious illness. I’m not looking to make light of Darnold’s malady.
But MONO. Really?
Just another day in the life of a Jets fan, I guess.
Scott Zucker is sports editor for Sun newspapers