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At their annual meeting on March 15 th , the Hockomock League coaches voted to limit use of lane lines in races.


In a long but seldom contentious meeting, coaches in the Hockomock League have decided to institute new regulations for running events. These will be used on a trial basis at this year's Hockomock League Championship and adopted for full use during the 2007 season.


Starting in '07 the 100M is the only event that will be run in lanes.


The 200M, 400M and all relays will be contested similar the indoor 300M at Franklin Field House. Athletes will line up on a straight starting line and the first person to the corner will get the inside position.


The reasons for the change were compelling. Spokesman Dwight Estey listed the four primary reasons.


#1. All teams can have home meets.


An official all-weather track will no longer be necessary. A school may mark out an oval on any field with tires or cones. This would allow schools such as King Philip to again host meets. As an added benefit, when lines on tracks start to deteriorate the schools won't be faced with expensive re-lining costs.


#2. It adds more excitement.


The sport of track and field is getting too sterile. Keeping athletes away from each other in segregated lanes is unnecessary and boring. The popularity of Snowboard Cross in the Winter Olympics showed just how exciting unfettered competition can be. As in SBX, The Hockomock League will ease the restrictions on contact between runners.


#3. Runners don't need lanes.


Distance runners have never had to worry about lanes. Why should sprinters and hurdlers? This smacks of discrimination. Are sprinters less able to be trusted? Do they need extra protections due to a more fragile nature? I think not!


#4. It is better education for real life.


If high school sports are to be a valuable educational experience, they should mirror the needs of society. Society needs workers capable of social interaction (unless they are preparing for life in an office cubicle). Lines restrict interaction. It's time to move to the 21 st Century and create a line-less society. Viva free space!


The committee of coaches decided to table discussion of articles designed to improve field events. Among the most controversial suggestions were:





In the end, discussions concerning field events did not detract from an air of optimism regarding running. The changes surrounding racing passed overwhelmingly.

To show just how effective the new regulations will go toward improving the sport, ESPN has already expressed interest in covering the '06 Hockomock League Championship with X-Games sponsor Oakley Sunglasses willing to support the project.

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