HAMMOCK: Harrison decision ruins prom for Mill Creek soccer players

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Photo by Brandon Brigman

Prom conflicting with high school athletics is nothing new.

In my 15 years at the Daily Post, I remember plenty of playoff games being rescheduled to accommodate one school's prom and most of those are shuffled around without a hitch. Some games are moved into the afternoon and cut it close with prom's start time.I've covered girls soccer playoff games where girls played with their hair already styled for prom. But I've never heard of a school just simply refusing to cooperate on moving a game for prom.

Until Thursday.

Mill Creek presented multiple options to Harrison for the teams' Class AAAAA quarterfinal girls soccer game because the Hawks' prom is scheduled for Saturday, the date set aside by the Georgia High School Association for the Elite Eight games.

But none of those options worked out because Harrison wouldn't budge on a start time.

Because it was Harrison's home game, the Hoyas stuck with a 5:30 p.m. start time Saturday and in the process destroyed the prom dreams of eight Mill Creek seniors, all of whom will likely play soccer at the expense of prom. Hawks girls soccer coach Brent Leitsch estimates that two-thirds of his players had dates to the 7 p.m. prom at Gwinnett Center.

"My daughter plays on the team and she's in tears," one Mill Creek parent said.

"I am appalled and disgusted that my child has to chose between prom and a playoff game, and so do the other girls," another parent said.

In the best case scenario, the Mill Creek players would leave Harrison around 7:30 p.m. Saturday for an hour-plus drive back to Gwinnett. Then they'd obviously have to get ready for prom. Pre-prom pictures, limo rides and dinner are out of the question.

Leitsch told his stunned team the news Thursday afternoon.

"It was not a happy group," Leitsch said. "No one's really happy, to be honest. We'll just have to make the best of it."

Mill Creek athletic director Gary Long credited Harrison principal Donnie Griggers for working hard to move the game around on Saturday, but the Hoyas had a contracted football jamboree Saturday morning followed by a state lacrosse match that the visiting school refused to move. So 5:30 p.m. was the best the Cobb County school could do.

But if Harrison tried hard, it didn't try hard enough.

Consider these options that Mill Creek offered, but Harrison refused:

--Playing Saturday at a nearby school in Cobb

--Playing Friday as a doubleheader with the Harrison boys team (apparently the Harrison girls coach was concerned his players were worn down from Wednesday's overtime game and didn't want to play Friday)

--Playing Monday, which still left 48 hours until Wednesday's semifinal round for the winner

--Playing at Mill Creek on Saturday, with Harrison getting all of the game's admission fees and concessions

All of those seemed like pretty fair options that would have helped out Mill Creek. But Harrison, which got its choice as the host team, chose to help itself instead.

"It's very unusual," Long said of the situation. "Historically, if there's a problem you can usually move the game around. But there was one obstacle after another that we couldn't overcome. ... All you can do at this point is be as positive as you can."

Hopefully the Harrison officials will take the next 24 hours and do the right thing. The kids and parents have poured a lot of money (for dresses, tuxedos, flowers and the like) to make senior prom a special memory.

Unfortunately, the folks at Harrison are doing their best to ruin it.

Will Hammock can be reached via email at will.hammock@gwinnettdailypost.com. His regular column appears on Thursdays. For archived columns, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willhammock. For Hammock's blog, go to www.gwinnettdailypost.com/willsworld.


TBROOKSHIRE 3 years, 4 months ago

I don't normally pull for Mill Creek since I am PRHS but in this case GO MILL CREEK BEAT HARRISON. Show them you don't mess with prom night.


HoyaParent 3 years, 4 months ago

I hope that, like other publications in the Atlanta area, you report on the compromise that has been made to ensure that the girls from Mill Creek can attend their prom. What you don't report here is that previous events were scheduled in the Harrison Stadium prior to the Soccer game start. It took time to move the schedules around, but the 4 middle school football games and the Harrison Girls Lacrosse State Playoff game (Harrison vs Roswell) have all agreed to be flexible with their schedules to ensure that these 14 girls are able to attend their prom. This involved over 400 kids and parents changing their schedules to accomodate the Soccer game change. Thanks to Roswell, North Cobb, Allatoona and Kennesaw Mountain and Harrison parents for being flexible! All of us are that are parents of student/athletes would never intentionally put our kids in the position to have to make this choice. I think you should have done a better job at gathering the FACTS before publishing this article. Good luck to all teams tomorrow.


Mack711 3 years, 4 months ago

If this was a 'business world' decesion it probably would not have happened this way,at least not where most of us work.. We have been told to do our job and get paid or go to the event and not get paid. In this case they wanted to change the schedule of everyone else in order for them to go to a prom, as reported by HoyaParent. Can you imagine the problems that this has caused for the others who were scheduled for other events just because they have a prom. You should have made a decision to do one and not the other. Life is not fair to all, get used to it, for when you get into the business world your employer may not do this for you.Be thankful to Harrison for accomadating you, they did not have to do this, and letting you have your cake and eat it too. Thanks Harrison and good luck to all who play tomorrow.


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