As a member of the TRU Executive Board, I think it is important to relay my opinion and observations to the Union about the USARFU Round of 16 in San Diego. First of all, the Texas and West D-1 teams did very well in the two day event. Austin played great on Saturday and beat OMBAC in a tight game. Kansas City upset East Palo Alto, the once defeated NorCal champions, on Saturday to move to the Sunday final against Belmont Shore, the undefeated SoCal champs, which beat Dallas in their Saturday game. Sunday found Austin losing to a very talented Glendale team by a wide margin and KC losing a close game to Belmont Shore. Dallas was up on East Palo Alto (by 14) before they played their reserves and eventually lost a close game.
Four very important lessons were learned and/or validated from this past weekend.
1-The game is played at a much higher pace at this level. The normal game pace in Texas is much, much slower and this is evident in these playoff games. Make a mistake, drop a ball and the good teams are off to the other end of the field.
2-Teams that want to compete nationally have to increase their level of competition. It does no good to ‘play down’. Teams must travel and play top level teams so when they get on the center stage, they know how the game is played.
3-The refereeing in Texas has to improve. As the speed increases, the level required to officiate the game must also increase.
4-As a union, we need to get together, find a top facility to host this event and support the proposal as a unified group. It costs roughly $15,000.00 to take a team to San Diego. The flights are expensive, food costs are higher, they tax everything to the max and lodging costs are more than in Texas. The only benefit of the Olympic Center is the weather and the grass on the field. It’s a lousy place to watch a game, no place to warm up and, on the D-1 field, there is only about 4 yards from the sideline to a chain link fence (I am not lying).
Over the summer, the TRU Executive Board and the Competitions Committee will focus on actions that will improve the level of play in Texas. The challenge for each team is to take it upon themselves to do this also.