To Move or Not to Move?

by Kara Shea
Issue Date: 
August, 2017
Article Body: 

Norwood coaches, parents, and athletes speak to their opinions on the move from the Bay State Conference to the Tri-Valley League.
One of the most controversial topics in Norwood for the past few months seems to be the debate about whether or not Norwood High School Athletics should move out of the Bay State Conference[BSC] and enter the Tri- Valley League [TVL]. This hot-button topic has seemingly divided Norwood’s citizens into two very clear categories- those eager for the move, and those fervently against it. From parents, to coaches, and even the athletes themselves, this discussion seems to have split Norwood right down the middle.
While Norwood has the smallest enrollment class in the Bay State Conference at about 967 students, this seems to pale in comparison to powerhouses such as Framingham (2,074), Newton North (2,012) and Weymouth (1,996). These schools have many more athletes to choose from, and can therefore put forth a team that they know will compete and dominate.
For Bill Naumann, President of Norwood Youth Hockey, parent of student athletes, and graduate of Norwood High, the amount of students that are enrolled in a school is irrelevant. Rather, he believes that “sports in which Norwood is competitive in the Bay State Conference, will remain competitive in the Try-Valley League. While sports that are not competitive in the Bay State Conference will continue to not be competitive in the Try-Valley League.” Bottom line? “Changing leagues is not going to correct the fundamental problems plaguing Norwood sports.”
Franki DeVingo, a Senior and three sport athlete at Norwood High, would be inclined to disagree. She deems Norwood’s size a hindrance because “it will always be harder for Norwood to compete in the Bay State Conference solely based on its size.”
For John J.J Oliver, the Norwood High men’s basketball head coach, this makes it seem as if Norwood is “heading off to battle without many troops.” As a previous coach of three of Norwood’s athletic teams, including girls and boys soccer and track, Oliver sees the move as an “opportunity to level the playing field.” He understands that “its not about wins and losses, yet, those are how we measure ourselves.”
Sean Munro, a senior at the School on the Hill would agree with Oliver that wins and losses are how we measure ourselves. However, Munro believes that “a win against a powerhouse shows a lot more guts than a win against a weak team.” These wins show the heart and passion that players have for the sports they play, their perseverance when times get tough, and the pride they have for their town.
Walpole and Norwood rivalry games are a tradition that show this pride well, and if the move goes through, they will happen less often. DeVingo recognizes that “there is nothing better than the adrenaline rush you get during big rivalry games against Walpole,” but she also believes that in the long run, schools that “are choosing a team of 20 players from 80 trying out are going to have a better chance at being successful than a school choosing a team of 20 from 30 kids trying out.”
With no explicit consensus among residents that this move is good or bad, and about a year between the vote and the actual move- all we can do now is listen and learn from both sides, and hope that whatever comes to pass will be best for the town.