Playoff vs. prom: Still think Gwinnett and Cobb could have worked this out. Now, they have.

UPDATE at noon: From Jay Dillon, Cobb spokesman: “I just got off the phone with Harrison Principal Donnie Griggers. He told me that the Roswell High School girls lacrosse coach has agreed to move back the start time of their playoff game against Harrison, allowing the girls championship soccer game between Mill Creek and Harrison to start at 1:00 p.m. The lacrosse game will now start at 3:00-3:30, or as soon as possible following the soccer game. Some of the Roswell lacrosse players have graduation parties to attend Saturday night as well, but they should be able to make it work out. A big thank you to Roswell lacrosse coach Sue Scheer for being accommodating so the soccer game could be moved and the Mill Creek students can attend their prom, and also to Mr. Griggers and Harrison soccer coach Steve Riccard for working so hard to find a resolution.

Hard to believe there wasn’t a solution to this problem: The girls soccer teams from Cobb’s Harrison High School and Gwinnett’s Mill Creek High face each other Saturday in a playoff game that will cause the Mill Creek students to miss most of their prom.

The two teams play at 5:30 p.m. at Harrison High, which is 45 minutes away from the Gwinnett school.

According to AJC.com

“For them to play at 5:30, it would be during the middle of prom before they even got home,” Mill Creek parent Wanda Hatfield told the AJC. “I’ve got a senior that’s just heartbroken. She’s a starter on the team and doesn’t know whether to play or what.”

Although Mill Creek has asked Harrison to change the game time, it’s not that simple, according to Cobb County school system officials.

That’s because Harrison’s boys and girls lacrosse teams are also hosting playoff opponents on Friday and Saturday, respectively. Saturday morning, four youth football games will be played on Harrison’s field before the lacrosse and soccer games are scheduled, Jay Dillon, spokesman for Cobb County schools, said Thursday evening.

Harrison’s principal, Donald Griggers, attempted to resolve the scheduling conflict, but was unable to due to the prior commitments for use of the field, Dillon said. Additionally, the Georgia High School Association rules prohibit games from being played on Sundays.

“We offered to play Monday. They don’t want to play Monday,” Mill Creek coach Brent Leitsch said by phone Thursday evening.

According to the GHSA brackets, which are posted before the season begins, the winner of the Mill Creek-Harrison game will play again Wednesday. Therefore, a Monday playoff game would give the winning team one day off before another game.

Mill Creek offered to host the game Saturday and give Harrison all of the proceeds, rather than the typical 50-50 split. But Harrison said no, after earning home-field advantage with a higher ranking.

“Harrison has worked with Mill Creek to try to find a resolution, but other events are scheduled with no possibility of them being moved,” Dillon said. “The schools will keep trying to work out an alternative, but at this point, it appears to be an unfortunate scheduling conflict.”

–From Maureen Downey, for the AJC Get Schooled blog

78 comments Add your comment

GOB

May 11th, 2012
9:05 am

The high school sports always take precedent over outside activities at the school. I can assure you that Harrison has lined practice fields that the youth football games could be moved to in order to accommodate the soccer game earlier in the day.

Tony

May 11th, 2012
9:06 am

Life is full of choices and we all are forced to make difficult ones. You have to choose based on your own values and using your own judgment. Sometimes adults try to shield our youth from this reality by trying to hard to make sure the kids get to do everything.

Cobb Taxpayer

May 11th, 2012
9:07 am

I will be there whenever or wherever – We are talking by State Champs Harrison Hoyas !

resno2

May 11th, 2012
9:11 am

Harrison has home field advantage because of how each team is seeded. Mill Creeks offer of hosting the game is honorable, but Harrison rightly said no because they would lose that advantage. MC also offered to move it to Monday. Again, Harrison rightly said no, because the winner would only have one day to rest before the final. This is NOT Harrison’s fault. It is “…an unfortunate scheduling conflict” caused by MC’s administration and prom committee.

Maureen Downey

May 11th, 2012
9:12 am

@Tony, I usually would agree but I would argue that there are only a few memorable high school moments, and, for many kids, prom is one of them. I went to my proms, but they were nowhere near the gala occasion that prom seems to have become today. I just can’t fathom that this game can only be played at 5:30 on the night of the prom.
I agree with the poster that the youth league games could be shifted or moved around a bit.
Maureen

resno2

May 11th, 2012
9:18 am

The youth league likely has a contract with the school and has probably already paid for the use of their field.

resno2

May 11th, 2012
9:18 am

It sounds like the mom is more heartbroken than the daughter, and don’t believe that she doesn’t know whether to play or what… she’ll play.

Pluto

May 11th, 2012
9:19 am

I have been told that the job of education is NOT about preparing the students for life after high school by an administrator but declined to absorb that bit of wisdom. This is a high school dance period. Way too much emphasis has been placed on these proms. I had to attend our school prom this year and was appalled at the expediture of resources by the attendees. It’s all about perceived status of the students. Let’s see if you really want a lasting status go out on the field and earn a state title. Those prom memories are way over-rated.

HS Public Teacher

May 11th, 2012
9:22 am

Get over it.

Sports are competitive. This is a big game. If she doesn’t want to play for whatever, then that is up to her.

Can you imagine if the quarterback in the Super Bowl wanted to change the date of the game because his wife is pregnant and expecting?

Of, if a player in the World Series has a nephew that is getting married. Would he request that the World Series be postponed until after the wedding?

Schoen

May 11th, 2012
9:24 am

Life is not fair. As adults they will have to learn to manage competing responsibilities. Time to start learning that lesson now.

Wendy

May 11th, 2012
9:28 am

Well Harrison turned down Mill Creeks offer to host the game, lets just be selfish. Ide go to Prom. These girls should not have to choose.

Matt's Mom

May 11th, 2012
9:30 am

Life is all about making tough choices. It’s an unfortunate lesson to learn this early in life, but they chose to participate in this sport. They can always forfeit the game.

V for Vendetta

May 11th, 2012
9:32 am

I’m with Tony on this one. This is a big game, and, from a former athletes perspective, you have made the commitment to do the best for your team–and in a big game, no less. Unfortunately, that comes with certain sacrifices. I spent hours and hours and HOURS of my high school life training. Because of that, I was fortunate enough to be a part of two state championship teams. Though I was able to attend my junior and senior proms, I remember the state championships more than anything else in high school. I wouldn’t trade those memories for anything.

resno2

May 11th, 2012
9:36 am

Wendy… do you understand why Harrison turned down Mill Creeks offer to host the game?

GOB

May 11th, 2012
9:38 am

Harrison could play the game earlier in the day. There is no question about that. Youth programs know that they may have to move to a different field if there is a conflict with the HS team, and any contract they sign almost surely says that they will be able to use school fields, not necessarily the stadium. If it does specify the stadium, that shows very poor judgment by the Harrison admin.

Knowing this group, however, I’m not surprised at their refusal to be flexible. It becomes gamesmanship at a point. Mill Creek’s focus in not on preparing for the game, so the longer this goes on, the more it benefits Harrison.

Toni

May 11th, 2012
9:41 am

These Young Ladies are young and vibrant, I say “DO THEM BOTH”, When you all finish the game, get dressed and go to the prom. You may be just a little late. But what a GREAT accomplishment!!!

Steve

May 11th, 2012
9:42 am

It sounds to me like Harrison just doesn’t want to work it out for Mill Creek. Move the youth football games to a different date. High school events should take precedent over youth league events scheduled on a high school campus. Also, why is there youth football in May anyway?

Agree

May 11th, 2012
9:42 am

I’m with Tony. Life is full of difficult decisions. Pick. I’ve had to choose between educating others’ children or earning enough money to educate my own. It sucks to be put in that position, but such is life.

There is a bigger issue here, though. Within this situation lies a major problem with today’s youth. When they hit an impasse, they sit around and wait for others to accommodate them by changing dates, altering expectations or modifying the rules of the game. They never really have to choose because they are ALWAYS given “options”. It is exactly why they have such a warped sense of reality.

Ashley

May 11th, 2012
9:45 am

This is a playoff game, which means its for a state championship, ask any athlete and I’m sure they will tell you playing sports and reaching the finals is something they strive for all through highschool and sometimes even before they reach highschool. While going to the prom might be memorable to some, especially with all the expense and red-carpet looks they are going for, most student don’t fantasize about this event for 12 years. In life there are choices, all I can say is welcome to adulthood.

Steve

May 11th, 2012
9:45 am

Bad choice to have to make. I would opt for the game. Not many people get the chance to play for a State Championship.
If MC wins, the girls can then go to the Prom. They will be the “Belles of the Ball” after it’s announced they just won the state title.

Ellen

May 11th, 2012
9:48 am

This happened to me in high school, I went to the soccer game and honored my committment to my team. We ended up being way up by the second half so my coach allowed me and other seniors to leave before the game was over. I threw on my dress with my hair in a pony tail, caught the tail end of prom and was able to enjoy the after party. This is not the end of the world.

Raider1990

May 11th, 2012
9:49 am

This is the most ridiculous debate I have ever heard. When you play sports, you are committing to the TEAM, not to the prom. If the prom means more to you than your team, then just quit. If this were the Mill Creek baseball team, you wouldn’t hear those boys’ parents whining. But because this is girls sports, prom and fashion override team and accomplishment. Heck, Mill Creek girls, just use this as motivation to whip the Hoyas rather than having mom complain that you are going to miss part of your prom. It’s not like it is just ONE girl. They can all be fashionably late.

Mysticsheesh

May 11th, 2012
9:50 am

I agree with Steve above… win the game and then go to Prom… mud, sweat, cleats and all!

Einstein

May 11th, 2012
9:52 am

Very poor choice for Harrison Monday would be fine, soccer players are used to playing two and three games in a DAY one day off is plenty. Lots of people rooting against Harrison now

GOB

May 11th, 2012
9:53 am

This isn’t a state final game. Just the quarterfinals. That’s one of the reasons it isn’t such an easy decision. The players could miss their prom and still not even make it to the finals.

dougmo2

May 11th, 2012
9:54 am

Mill Creek-Welcome to reality.

Alton

May 11th, 2012
9:55 am

WOW! This is a controversy? Let me see if I got it, this team made great effort to play well enough to earn a state playoff bid, played well enough to beat Newnan and advance in the state playoffs, and now are concerned about missing part of the prom? Let me guess the Senior Walk. These young ladies can get fancied up and go have a great night out with friends anytime, but how many opportunities will they have to win a state title with this group of teammates?

Aquagirl

May 11th, 2012
9:59 am

all I can say is welcome to adulthood.

Where you learn the women’s H.S. playoff takes a backseat to football in any form.

Yep. there’s your lesson, ladies.

William Casey

May 11th, 2012
10:02 am

As a former coach, the “youth program” conflict seems bogus to me. Those games could easily be moved unless there is a contract with a performance bond.

Alton

May 11th, 2012
10:04 am

The admin of Harrisson is and should be concerned about the well being of the Harrisson students. Call them wrong if you want, but they don’t have to be honorable. If it were the other way around, I am sure that MC would not be in such a hurry to change schedules because of Harrisson’s prom. Besides make a decision. Ask Westlake about it. Years ago their boys track team up and left the state track meet (one they were assured of winning) because a rain delay forced the meet to last well into the night and their prom was on that Saturday. The meet kept going, and Westlake essentially gave their state track championship to another team.

Souffle Chef

May 11th, 2012
10:08 am

There is a solution. It’s called sportsmanship and consideration. Apparently Harrison doesn’t have any and is more concerned about home field advantage than putting themselves in the place of Mill Creek. Shame on them.

John

May 11th, 2012
10:09 am

The soccer game is at 5:30 and will probably be over by 7:15 or 7:30 at the latest. Let Mill Creek move the prom start back to 9 p.m.–I assume it wouldn’t start until 8 anyway and, if it is like most proms, half the kids come in an hour late anyway. That way, the girls can get back home, shower and chnge, and get there only a few minutes late.

If that doesn’t work, it should be no problem for the youth league games scheduled at Harrison to be moved to nearby fields and have all of the sports events moved up a few hours. Or, better yet, let the soccer game take place at Harrison at the time the lacrosse game is scheduled and move the lacrosse game back. Alternatively, move the youth league games until after the high school games.

There are many solutions to these problems.

Inman Park Boy

May 11th, 2012
10:10 am

The solution is really rather simple. As a former high school principal I ALWAYS scheduled our prom in April, before the GHSA playoffs begin in May. I personally think that any school that schedules a prom this late in May is asking for this kind of trouble.

oldtimer

May 11th, 2012
10:11 am

Of course it could be worked out!

jmm

May 11th, 2012
10:15 am

Many are calling for Harrison to shuffle its events to accommodate Mill Creek. If this is so important, why doesn’t Mill Creek reschedule its prom? It won’t because so many other people would be affected. That’s the reason Harrison shouldn’t reschedule its other events.

Lynn

May 11th, 2012
10:15 am

Schools should look at playoff schedules when planning prom. Harrison has its prom ridiculously early so that there will be no potential conflicts such as Mill Creek is experiencing. Life is about choices. With so many playoff games and other activities, it is not easy to reschedule potentially dozens of other players to accommodate one schools unfortunate prom date. Where is the school’s responsibility in not foreseeing a possible Spring Sports conflict?

Captain Midnight

May 11th, 2012
10:16 am

This is on the front page of THE ATLANTA JOURNAL CONSTITUTION?

Ms. Downey, Mr McGill would like to see you in his office.

MiltonMan

May 11th, 2012
10:31 am

The game is a lot less expensive than the prom – go the game.

GwinnettGuy

May 11th, 2012
10:32 am

The details of state play-off games and locations are usually set at the final moment. It has to be that way due to not knowing which teams will be playing up until usually days before the event happens. The two teams are supposed to work together in a collaborative effort to find the best time and date of the game within a given window. I happen to know of a Gwinnett County School that moved the time of a state basketball playoff game to accomodate an opposing team. It does happen and is the right thing to do.

On the other hand, proms are usually scheduled months, if not a year, in advance. Given the number of high schools in metro Atlanta and the limited number of venues, it is unreasonable to just say, “Mill Creek should have gone earlier.” Mill Creek had no way of knowing that their soccer team would make it to the playoffs and that the home team would set it for that specific night and time.

The home school DOES have flexibility in the scheduling the date and the time of the game. They SHOULD have taken into consideration an important event such as prom.

Lynn

May 11th, 2012
10:37 am

GwinnettGuy…Mill Creek had the opportunity to schedule their prom earlier as well. Yes, it’s too late for this year, but this why many schools have an earlier prom. The onus is on Mill Creek. Don’t expect hundreds of fans and 6 other games to be rescheduled due to your lack of foresight.

what's best for kids???

May 11th, 2012
10:38 am

Much ado about nothing.
Go to the game, kick some tail, and then run to the prom in uniform with your trophy…done. Girl athletes are super cool.

Manny

May 11th, 2012
10:39 am

I just want to say that the officials at Harrison High School have been gracious enough to accomodate our girls varsity soccer team. The game time has been changed to 1:30 pm on Saturday.
Thank You Harrison High

GwinnettGuy

May 11th, 2012
10:42 am

Lynn,

I’m not a Mill Creek Parent and as such have no dog in this fight. However, there is a right and a wrong thing to do. Playoff games have scheduling flexibility for this very reason. Their dates and times are NOT set in stone. The teams are supposed to work together to find a solution.

For an event such as prom, scheduling should be worked out. It is the right thing to do.

Based off the followup from Manny, it appears the issue is resolved. Hats off to Harrison High for doing the right thing.

Soccermom

May 11th, 2012
10:44 am

There is no reason why the schedule change could not have been accommodated. It is laughable to think or say that the youth football games could not be played elsewhere. This is simply hard-nosed gamesmanship by Harrison. They are banking on some of the MC players opting to go to prom, thereby giving Harrison an advantage.

GHSA should have a rule that, in cases of major conflict such as this, the date or time of the playoff game MUST be changed. It is not fair that players should have to make a choice between two of the most memorable times in their school years. There are so few of those truly momentous occasions. People need to remember that they ARE momentous in the eyes of a teenager.

And for those of you saying “life’s not fair” and “get over it”, you are just being snarky.

With that said, I personally believe that the players should participate in the game. They made a commitment to their team and they should honor that commitment. There are other girls who are depending on them to be at the game.

If the game site is not too far away from the prom venue, perhaps the MC administration could make arrangements for the dance to last longer so that the players could be at the dance for at least a short time.

PROM MOMS?

May 11th, 2012
10:46 am

Who brought this to the attention of the news/radio/tv stations? Was that an attempt to force Harrison’s hand through public humiliation.?

I’ve heard the recent update that this has been worked out, thanks to Harrison High School but this fuss was really very tacky of the moms or whomever brought this to the media’s attention. It’s very immature and rude to try to manipulate the other players into doing things your way because YOU have a conflict. Harrison had no conflict…you did…but you tried to make it appear that Harrison was being unfair! Pffft!!

GwinnettGuy

May 11th, 2012
10:52 am

Prom Moms,

If you felt your child was being unfairly treated, you’d do everything you could to resolve it too. I realize whether or not they were being unfairly treated is up for debate but I don’t fault *ANY* parent for sticking up for their child.

If it is such a non-issue, what does it matter if the newspaper does a story on it? Ignore it if you don’t think it’s a big deal.

williebkind

May 11th, 2012
10:55 am

Why cant the Prom be moved to another date?

another comment

May 11th, 2012
11:01 am

The parents could rent a couple of rooms in the hotel at I-75 and Barrett Parkway for the girls to shower and change. They could have a couple of hairstylists and make-up artists to meet them at the hotel and do their hair and make-up. You can skip the acrylic nails. Just do clear polish the night before. There are many stylist and make-up artists that will come and do a group of 8 girls for $200 or less each. I did this for a party. In fact you will end up paying less than going to the salon. The stylist and make-up artist earn extra cash. My best friend owns a salon and will gladdly find you some or even do it herself, with an assitant. So instead of paying MAC at the mall $50 each, I bet you can get 8 girls done for $200 +tip.

Then the boys can get the meeting room, and have a nice resturant or caterer, bring in a nice meal. When the girls are done getting ready it will be 8-8:30. Eat down at the catered 4 star meal + Out the door by 9:00 in a limo and off to Prom. You don’t have to waste time and go back over to home in Gwinett to get ready.

You must take the emotion out of it. And think like, how do I get this process done, and still do both. That is how you succeed in todays world.

T-Square

May 11th, 2012
11:03 am

Well, it could be a difficult choice for the students, but then again, they could look at it rationally. Which of these two events is more likely to get me a scholarship to a good college? Prom, or soccer? Well, they don’t give out scholarships for prom, so maybe I should play in the soccer match and sign that scholarship to get a free ride through college…hmmm…Wait, that doesn’t seem like such a hard decision after all. Prom is overrated, it is just a dance. These kids have to learn at some point that life is all about the choices you make. Do you throw away a good season for a dance, or do you get over missing the dance and try to extend your season?

Alton

May 11th, 2012
11:03 am

WOW unfairly treated, Harrisson being unfair? The admin at Harrisson has to answer to the parents, students, and coaches of Harrisson. Yeah I would be fine with opponent and others (non-involved) that would think me to be unfair for telling my parents, students, and coaches of Harrisson that we have home field, and we are taking it. To SOCCERMOM, GHSA does have a rule to change it. If the two schools cannot come to an agreement, GHSA steps in. If there is no over the top reason, GHSA will split down the middle. MC want 9:00 am and Harrisson want 5:30 game would be around 1 or 2 (still not ENOUGH time for women to get prepared).