The links below go to a set of three stories on the operation of District 10; the stories ran this past Sunday in the Erie Times-News. They are very well-done and eminently readable, difficult to do with these kinds of information-heavy stories.

Erie Times-News lead scholastic writer Tom Reisenweber, a rising star among the state’s high school writers, authored all three with an assist from columnist John Dudley, who formerly covered high school wrestling for the Times-News. John still does the occasional football game or wrestling match for the paper.

The stories are here, here and here.

The series is not just crafted well, it does an excellent job of opening a window on how PIAA districts operate. There are substantial similarities and differences in the operations of the 12 districts, but once you read through the series, you will have a pretty good idea how districts do their business across the state.

I’ll let the details speak for themselves, but I do want to comment on one important aspect of the stories: Tom and John did an excellent job of skewering the notion that districts are not oligarchies, as they seem to be so often portrayed. That simply is not the case, and the Erie stories do a nice job of exploding that and some other myths. I doubt that was the Times-News’ intent. Rather, that’s what happens when reporters are committed to fairness.

In the last few months, I’ve become more intimate with the operation of District 3, now that I am a paid independent contractor facilitating the field hockey and girls volleyball power ratings. I did not regularly cover District 3 meetings (out of sheer sloth, if I can be so honest) while I was at The Patriot-News, but I can tell you this. The District 3 Committee is dedicated to doing the right thing for interscholastic athletics in District 3.

That occasionally results in disagreement and debate, but it should be comforting that District 3 (as well as other PIAA districts) are not monochromatic either in their outlook or their make-up. I’ve been called an apologist and even a shill for PIAA (and to a much lesser degree its districts) many times over the years. That’s never bothered me because I found out years ago that PIAA is not the smoky, back-room poker game in which it has been so improperly characterized.

This series is worth your time no matter what section of the state you reside.

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