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Copyright 2018 Albuquerque Journal

Albuquerque Journal (New Mexico)

 

That the New Mexico Activities Association moved its 2018 state soccer tournament up a day was not a surprise.

In truth, the far more interesting aspect to Wednesday's special board of directors meeting involved discussion items that aren't yet part of NMAA policy. One of them was essentially creating a regular season — AND a state tournament — for video gamers. (Yes, really.)

The other involved unruly fan behavior and special powers for the NMAA to potentially dole out punishment to individual schools as a result.

First things first, however.

The board voted unanimously to conduct Week 2 of the soccer playoffs from Nov. 7-9 on the complex on the Santa Ana Pueblo.

The vote was necessitated when the pueblo booked the complex for Saturday, Nov. 10, which would have been championship Saturday for the NMAA.

So this year's event will run Wednesday through Friday, with a return to the normal Thursday-Saturday format in 2019.

Among the 73 schools that responded to an NMAA survey, more than half — 37 — voted to simply move the tournament up by one day. An option to move the event to Las Cruces garnered 27 votes.

UNDER DISCUSSION: In light of the near melee that occurred between two parents at the state wrestling tournament, and a couple of fan-related issues that sprung up during state basketball — and even some fallout from state spirit on social media — NMAA executive director Sally Marquez said this to the board Wednesday:

"I need your help."

There are, she said, about 15 states — specifically, she cited Wyoming and North Carolina — with language that gives state associations power to punish a school for unsportsmanlike conduct by a spectator or group of spectators, coaches or athletes.

"It's out of control at this point," Marquez said to the board. She cited one example at state basketball of fans yelling derogatory things at a non-American athlete.

As for the eSports item: There would be a league, with teams from various schools, competing against one another in one of the following games: Smite, League of Legends, Rocket League, Icons and NBA 2K. The NMAA estimates that 14,000 kids ages 13-17 are already playing these games.

Hobbs hires coach

Hobbs High School this week hired 51-year old Shelby Reeves to be its boys basketball coach. Reeves, a 1984 Eagles graduate who played for Ralph Tasker and won three combined championship rings at Hobbs as an assistant coach for both boys and girls, takes over from Mike Smith, who retired after the season.

"My dream come true," Reeves said. "Growing up in a tradition of the Hobbs Eagles, I'm so excited to get started. I can't wait to put my stamp on it."

Reeves has coached in Hobbs for two decades. He was with Johnny Casaus and the girls from 1997-2006 (winning a title in 2003), then joined the boys and Russ Gilmore.

He was with Smith the last eight seasons, and part of championship teams under Gilmore in 2008 and Smith in 2015.

"I grew up in the Hobbs High School gym," Reeves said. "I've been coming to this gym since I was 6 years old."

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