What would you think if a team with an 0-18 record was seeded into a district championship tournament?
Yeah, I was thinking that, too. And that must mean it's time for my annual rant on why the playoff system in PIAA sports has, in many cases, become a parody of all that is right about athletic competition.
To be fair, the 0-18 team -Lebanon Catholic's softball team - opted not to enter the District 3 Class A tournament. But the Beavers could have made an appearance in the field - despite losing 19 straight going back to last season, when at 5-15 the parochial school was shut out by Greenwood in the same bracket.
District 3 once had the most difficult playoff bracket to crack with its conference-based system, but relented and went to a broader seeding system several years ago. It does use a power rating system, which is more fair than some other districts - but someone needs to explain to me how a team that lost 18 games while winning none has power points at all.
Because there are four teams in District 3 Class A (it will be five next year when Upper Dauphin drops back down), it is entitled to its own tournament and a guaranteed state bracket spot under PIAA rules.
But if that district imposed District 4's .500 rule, the title would already be Greenwood's, because the Wildcats were the only team in that group to win at least half their games this spring.
District 6 and its open tournaments hosted five sub-.500 baseball teams three softball teams with losing records (not including Class AAAA for softball, where all records are not listed).
And, to be fair, not all of them were sent home in the first round - Penns Valley upset No. 2 Richland in softball (and will play Mount Union today, conditions permitting), and Williamsburg made it to the Class A semis in baseball before falling.
Juniata softball is one of the teams that entered without a winning record. I can sympathize with coach Brian Sheaffer's position that, as long as the players and parents are footing the bill - and the district policy allows it - he was going to let his girls enter.
But there's a huge inequity when a team in the same school district has a similar winning percentage, and is denied a shot at the postseason because its PIAA district has an actual qualification requirement.
As all districts should - sports is supposed to be played on a level playing field, not one that shifts with the wind.
Not long ago, a few comments popped up in The Sentinel's open line about the modesty - or lack thereof - of Mifflin County's spring sports uniform choices.
It's true that the softball jerseys are similar to those worn by summer teams - which never seem to draw any complaints - rather than the baseball shirts other teams wear. But they are hardly revealing.
That was followed by an observation about the track uniforms, which I just had to laugh at. The Huskies wear some of the least revealing track outfits you'll see today - unlike, say, State College and Altoona, whose uniforms look like they were purchased from Victoria's Secret.
Well, the girls', anyway. Which has always led me to wonder - if those skimpy tops and bikini bottoms masking as shorts really offer that much in terms of a performance enhancement, why aren't the boys wearing them, too?
Neither of the District 4 schools in our coverage area will be represented in this year's PIAA track and field championships. One might be tempted to ask whether that might be related to the location of the district meet as much as the ability of the athletes, who had to board buses as early as 4:30 a.m. to make it to Athens, where the meet was held.
On top of that, the district decided to combine the Class AA and Class AAA events, which made the meet start earlier and run longer than a single-class event.
I'm sure this had everything to do with Athens' admittedly stunning scenery, its spacious and modern track facility.
Surely it wasn't because of the lingering resentment by the Northern Tier that too many of the playoffs are in the southern side of the district (where 70 percent of the schools and athletes are), or because the track chairman just happens to be the Athens principal.
Jeff Fishbein is sports editor of The Sentinel. Contact him at firstname.lastname@example.org.