Saturday, May 23, 2009

Tournament of Champions

This is going to be one of my classic blogs that begins... back in san diego.

ah hem.

back in san diego, where the weather is nice and the sand comes with oceans and not gila monsters, the high school league tournament is a well oiled machine with ten years under its belt. its a big deal. its the highlight of the year and the perfect kick off of the summer season. its a roller coaster of emotions between the dozen or so schools in their long running league and their coaches, all of whom have been teaching at their particular school for years.

here in phoenix, as in many things, this is year one. our first year for the league, our first tournament. and, in the absence of an army of coaches... i instructed both of our teams this year... and put together the tournament... and hosted the tournament... and attempted to explain how things work to everyone involved, none of whom has ever seen or been part of the High School League or Tournament at all.

whats this all about? they asked.

well, you see, its a bit complicated this year. tournament is the opportunity for HSL teams to shine. to show off what they know and see how far they have come. this year, even though our league consisted of two schools, there was as much to consider as though we had 20 or 30 different schools. yes, basha and horizon are equal to about 15 schools apiece. basha and horizon came in with different personalities and priorities and abilities and talents on each team, they couldn't have been further from each other geographically, but both schools had an intense drive to win.
(to be fair, the trophies were pretty nice. i kinda wanted to win one too.)

at tournament both teams presented an individual showcase, hosted by their own players and laid out to show off the best of their abilities. basha's was a team effort, co-hosted by danielle and dylan, and showing off the best of what they have learned from NCT this year. Horizon's was tailored and fast paced, hosted by Bo and showcasing the library of games in Horizon's repetoire not played by NCT.

after that was the main event, a competitive show between the two teams and evaluated by 7 impartial NCT judges and 1 guest judge from Arizona's Independant Film Project. They kept score based- not on the show score- but on the criteria of teamwork, scene work, execution of the games and the rules, sportsmanship and showmanship.
after the show the judges deliberated and discussed their scores and finally decided on a tournament winner and awarded individual awards to many of the players.

i have to say, im glad that i was not in on the judging. i think that, on top of the stress of the tournament itself, having to decide between the two teams- my two teams- my brain may have melted and then leaked out my ears and you know who would have had to mop that up? me. best to leave the judging to the impartial who didn't know the kids in advance and didnt already have a fondness for each crazy character. i thought they were all funny, smart, good at improv, great at working together and i was really impressed. to me, it was pretty even and i wished we could have sawed the trophy in half and given it to both schools... which is WHY i wasnt in on the judging.

it came down to a two point game and, in the end, Horizon High School took home the Tournament Champions Trophy and Basha High School took home the one-of-a-kind runner up FrankenTrophy.

after the tournament both teams chose new captains for next years teams. Brittany from Basha's Sudden Impact passed her torch to Dylan and Danielle as co-captains and Bo of Horizon's 56th Street Players handed off the title to Harrison.

We already have several schools inquiring about next year's League, and I predict that we will more than double the League's size. We will need to get some more coaches in there, and im looking forward to expanding the Phoenix HSL until the san diego starts a blog and begins all their posts with the phrase, "see, how they do it in Phoenix is..."
however, i hope to continue coaching Horizon and Basha. my teams. tournament champions!


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