With just over a month until Capital Volleyball League's finals day, I question why we bother with a 3rd place or 'bronze' play-off.
Former VACT Manager Alex Valentine quite appropriately often ridiculed a bronze medal, referring to it as 'dirt'. It's dirt coloured, and in a local league worth about as much.
In no other league that I can think of do they waste time on their showpiece day if finals playing essentially meaningless matches. Yet volleyball for some reason seems to think these games are important. Rubbish. Important to who exactly?
The teams playing in these matches have missed their sport in the game that matters. Often the only motivation the teams have is to avoid doing duty on the final. Because of this, often neither team plays well and the meaningless match goes long and delays the important matches later in the day.
Spectators don't care. In other sports a finals day is centered around the decider for the top grade or division. The undercard matches to create the finals day atmosphere are Grand Finals of lower divisions. ACT Club Rugby finals were promoted in the Canberra Times; grand finals throughout the day, culminating in the first grade final. What is more people were willing to pay $8 to get in to watch. Compare this with CVL finals, sure there are four grand finals but then we have all these other nonsense play-offs that don't matter taking away from the spectacle.
Can you imagine the teams who lost the preliminary finals in AFL or NRL to front up the following weekend to play in the build up to the grand final? I'm pretty sure they'd tell you where to stick it.
Now some of you might ask 'what about Nationals, or the Olympics? They play-off for a bronze medal don't they?' Yes, but they are tournaments not leagues. They haven't already played everyone else 1-3 times over 15-20 weeks. A bronze medal is worth a bit more than dirt if it is to prove where you stand at the end of a tournament. In a league though, you've had your chance to show your worth, you lost a game that mattered and you turn your attention to next season.
Ditch the dirt on CVL finals day and do justice to the games that matter. One court, grand finals only, one after the other.