It looks like the Cross County Conference is the latest local high school sports league to implode. Ten schools from the league have been secretly plotting to bolt from the league, leaving Miami East, Bethel, Covington and Fort Loramie on their own.
These things tend to happen every so often as population changes and other factors change the competitiveness of leagues. Not all that long ago, a bunch of schools, including Troy, Piqua and Tipp City, announced they were leaving the Greater Western Ohio Conference to create their own league.
This latest change leaves three Miami County high schools without a league sometime in the near future. Never fear! They will find some other schools to go in with them to create a new league. While they work on it, I have some advice for them. It’s all about the name.
There seems to be some disagreement about who will get to keep the Cross County Conference name. My advice to Miami East, Covington and Bethel is: let the other schools have it. It’s a really unimaginative name. It’s all about branding these days, and “Cross County Conference” sounds like a pretty provincial name to me. Look at us, we’ve got schools that have to cross a county line to play each other.
Think big! The four schools have been stomping those other schools in football for years. They need to create a new league with a new identity. Naturally, I have some great ideas for them if they are courageous enough to give one of them a try,
• Acronyms are important. Most people don’t say “Cross County League,” they say CCC (which sounds like a program from the Great Depression). People will call Troy’s new league the MVL more often than they will call it the Miami Valley League. So here’s a name for the new league: The Center of Ohio League. It’s not exactly accurate, but it’s a great name with a greater acronym: COOL. How fun would it be to win the COOL championship in football? It would be … cool!
• Think bigger! Schools tend to name their leagues after rivers or portions of the state or some other geographic theme. I say go all out … the Intergalactic Sports Association. Or maybe the Greater Milky Way Conference. Yes, all the schools are in the same galaxy, so it is accurate and descriptive, and it opens up new horizons for the future. Lots of potential for expansion.
• We could follow college conferences and use a number in the name. You know, Big 8, Big Ten, Big 12 (never the Little 10, though). The odd thing about this is that most of those college conferences no longer have the correct number of teams in their league — the Big Ten, for instance, has 14 teams. You want to go to one of those schools for football but maybe not for mathematics. Our new conference probably couldn’t use Big 8 or Ten because of trademark issues, so how about just calling itself the BIG League. The most valuable player in the league could be Mr. (or Ms.) BIG or the BIG Cheese. However, the Big Ten’s newest logo looks like “BIG,” so maybe we should use a different word instead of “Big.” Depending on the number of schools, you could be the Magnificent 7 or the Super 8 or the Perfect 10.
• The problem in western Ohio is that there are no mountains, no oceans, no big lakes, nothing to use as a handle for a great name. It’s tough coming up with something exciting when all you have to work with are cornfields, creeks and cows. (Hey, the Corn, Creek and Cow Conference: CCCC!). What we need is something that captures the nature of the people who live here. The Heart of America League. The Independence Conference. The Good Neighbors Conference. Or, we could just borrow from P.T. Barnum and call it The Greatest League on Earth.
I still like COOL best, but it’s probably not something to get worked up about. If you don’t like the name, or the schools that make up the league, just have a little patience. It’s all bound to change again soon.
David Lindeman is a Troy resident and former editor at the Troy Daily News. He can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.