Tired of watching all of those awards shows on television? Kind of makes you want to turn off the set and read an awards column in the paper, doesn't it?
Good. Here are the first (and possibly last) boys soccer post-season awards, as voted on by a panel of one.
MOST VALUABLE PLAYER: Lakewood's Chris Brown. Sure, Clearwater Central Catholic's Matt Malinosky is a great player, but CCC has a tremendous supporting cast. Without Brown, Lakewood would be in trouble. Tim White also has played well for the Spartans, but remember that Lakewood lost two players, Jabe Breland and Justin Wood, earlier in the season for disciplinary reasons.
Brown had to step up, and he responded with 30 goals in leading Lakewood to a regular-season Class 2A, District 10 district championship.
COMEBACK PLAYER OF THE YEAR: Seminole senior Aaron Paroulek. He missed his junior season to a degeneration of the bone in his right knee. Paroulek came back and played in all 22 games and scored 10 goals. He'll attend South Florida next season on a scholarship.
SURPRISE TEAM OF THE YEAR: Clearwater. The Tornadoes lost some key players but still won 12 games and beat out Seminole and St. Petersburg for the 3A-11 regular-season title.
BIGGEST DISAPPOINTMENT: St. Petersburg Catholic. The Barons went to the state final last season, but this season, coach Brad Smith was fired and five seniors were dismissed from the team for violation of school policy.
GOAL OF THE YEAR: There were hundreds of goals, and it's impossible to see all of them, but Osceola's game-tying goal against Seminole on Friday in the final minutes of regulation has to be tops.
With time running out and Seminole clinging to a 3-2 lead in the Pinellas County Athletic Conference final, Clinton Smith fended off two Seminole defenders deep in the left corner. He lofted a left-footed cross just before a defender knocked it away.
The pass went directly to a wide open Murray Willingham, who headed it into the open net. Osceola won the championship in penalty kicks.
ATTA BOY AWARD: They lost every game, usually 10-0, and scored only once, but the Pinellas HEAT didn't give up. The state's first all home-schooled team can always say it was first, even in finishing last.
MAKE OR BREAK DAY: In most districts, tonight is the most important night of tournament week. Four teams remain in most districts, and the winners advance to Friday's finals. Finalists also clinch a spot in the regional quarterfinal.
"That's where the real pressure is," Seminole coach Rick Masi said.
_ RODNEY PAGE