It is getting hotter by the minute in the North County this week which only means one thing, the California Mid-State Fair is upon us. Death, taxes, Kobe Bryant shooting over four people for a contested, fadeaway, elbow jumper at the end of the game while every single one of his teammates is open and it being in the triple digits for the fair are the only absolutes in this world. Don’t bother looking at your rusty thermometer that is nailed to the deck out back and trust me when I tell you the dial is spinning as if I placed a magnet on a compass.
Involvement in the Mid-State is a sort of rite of passage in Atascadero, Templeton and Paso Robles. Not unlike the Satere-Mawe tribe, that resides in the Brazilian Amazon, who force their men to wear a glove full of bullet ants in order to prove their manhood (seriously, look this up. It is nuts. They also have to stay quiet while they wear the glove for 10 minutes or they have to do it again. I would still be very much considered a boy in the Amazon because there is no way I’m not crying or fighting someone) parents in the North County force their sons and daughters to enter an animal through FFA, work a lemonade stand or park cars as a coming-of-age first dip into the wave pool that is adult responsibility.
Don’t get me wrong, I love the fair. I will be at nearly all the concerts covering them for the newspaper but what makes me most excited about the fair is that it means that football season is just a few short weeks away. Immediately following the fair all three North County teams will spring into action as they prepare for their opening week matchups.
If you haven't heard, we have had another reshuffling of the leagues for football and actually added a third for the upcoming season with Mission Prep deciding to return to real football with 11 men on the field. Each of the three leagues will contain four teams and an old and familiar name makes its return. The top league remains mostly unchanged as it will still be called the Mountain League and will be home to all the same schools as last year except for the Greyhounds who will be dropping down after going 0-10 for the first time in school history a year ago. The reigning champion St. Jospeh Knights, who went undefeated last year, will look to defend their crown against the like of Paso Robles, Arroyo Grande and Righetti.
The second league will operate as the Ocean League does in most other sports, holding the smaller and slightly less competitive schools in the area. However, rather than being called the Ocean League, this year, according to sources, they will bring back the old name of the PAC, this time calling it the PAC 4. The new PAC 4 will keep the top three teams from last season in the league champions Nipomo, San Luis Obispo and Pioneer Valley while the bottom three teams will move into the third division which will be the new Ocean League. The Ocean league will now contain Templeton, Santa Maria, Morro Bay and as mentioned previously Mission Prep.
On top of new league alignment several of the schools in the Central Coast, including all three in the North County, have moved down in their playoff division. It was patently absurd for the Central Section to immediately throw Atascadero and Paso Robles into Division 1 upon their first year entering the Central Section but that was just one on a growing list of things they did in the last year that would be deemed questionable. Luckily for the all three North County teams, they have been realigned and are getting closer to where they should be. Both the Hounds and the Bearcats dropped out of Division 1 and into Division 2 while the Eagles dropped out of Division 3 and into Division 4.