There have been plenty of preposterous state playoff sites in Texas throughout the 2010-11 school year due to the archaic playoff site system drawn up by Texas' University Interscholastic Association. Yet none of those sites -- not even the Texas football playoff game which was played in Louisiana -- can compete with a bi-district playoff softball series which was played Friday in Oklahoma.
The two teams involved in the aforementioned series -- Canyon (Texas) Randall High and Lake Dallas (Texas) High -- are both more than two hours from Oklahoma, yet they were still forced to play out their neutral site playoff series in another state, thanks to a system that uses a coin flip to decide between dueling proposed sites, one sent forward by each school.
According to the Dallas Morning News, the decision to play this series in Oklahoma City was forced by a dearth of other options between Canyon Randall (which is near Amarillo) and Lake Dallas (which, rather appropriately, is near Dallas).
"Between here and Canyon, there's not that many places to play," Lake Dallas athletic director Scott Head told the Morning News. "We looked around, but all of those other sites were washed up. Everyone else is playing there."
That pushed the two teams to Oklahoma, which was the site proposed by Lake Dallas. Canyon Randall was hoping to play in Snyder, Texas, which -- believe it or not -- was just as far from each school as was Oklahoma City's Oklahoma City University, where the series was contested.
Incredibly, the series' locational issues weren't even resolved by that first coin flip. Because Texas baseball and softball playoffs are decided in three-game series, only a straight, two-game sweep in a doubleheader can end a series in one game. That's not traditionally a huge problem, as the two teams can stay overnight in a hotel after a Friday game (or games) and then finish the series the following day.
However, in this case, playing the following day wasn't a possibility because the Lake Dallas prom was scheduled for Saturday night. Fear of travel complications affecting senior softball players' ability to attend prom forced Head and the Lake Dallas contingent to insist that no games be played on Saturday. The two teams scheduled a double header on Friday, yet still had to arrange for a potential third game if the series was not decided by a sweep in that doubleheader.
So, with the prom in mind, the two teams arranged for a potential tiebreaker game on Monday. Yet the site of that game was moved to Snyder, as Lake Dallas was unilaterally responsible for not playing a deciding game on Saturday. That opened up the incredibly unique -- if also completely ridiculous -- possibility that one three game series between two high school teams from one state could be played out across two different states ... at locations that are nearly six hours apart. The total travel time for that series -- to and from both sites -- would have been an incredible 16 hours for Lake Dallas and Canyon Randall alike.
As it turns out, that secondary site wasn't needed, as Canyon Randall swept the Friday doubleheader by scores of 4-2 and 12-1. Still, the near preposterous arrangements that involved both states won't soon be forgotten, particularly by Canyon Randall, which, according to the Amarillo Globe-News, now advances to play a school from (get ready for it) El Paso.
Given Randall's route through other states, perhaps the Raiders can take this step further and play their next playoff series across the border in Mexico? With UIL's track record in staging series, even that might not be off the table.