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Amazing what can be accomplished in just 54 days. One is able to move the biggest of mountains. In this case, the big mountain is moving the North Bay League girls and their soccer season from fall to winter. It will take eight meetings during that span and the subject will be vetted like a presidential candidate, with a final vote taken Oct. 7.

It began quietly enough on Aug. 10, when a straw vote was taken among the NBL coaches. The vote was split, 4-4. That would appear to be a solid deadlock with no discernible movement in sight. Ah, but that would be ignoring what’s coming ashore with the incoming tide.

A state championship.

In the North Coast Section, only three large-school leagues have girls soccer still playing in the fall: NBL, SCL and Humboldt Del-Norte. The boys in the area moved last year. This is not an isolated, insignificant development. The move to winter will create a Northern California Regional Championship, which will lead quite conveniently to the carrot at the end of the stick: The state championship, a true California state champion.

Allow me to mix my metaphors: The state champion is the tail that’s wagging this dog. It is the reason why so many people around here are going to eight meetings in 54 days. People want to get this right, and you can’t criticize their effort.

Coaches will have met. Athletic directors will have met. Principals will have met. Athletic directors and principals will have met together. The NCS Board of Managers will have met. To be fair, girls soccer moving to winter will not be the only subject up to debate. But it will be the bullet-point item on each meeting’s menu.

Last Thursday, a strong hint was given as to how these 54 days will end. The NBL’s athletic directors and principals voted unanimously to support a Northern California Regional soccer tournament.

On Oct. 7, the CIF Federated Council will meet and is expected to vote for the winter. At this point, unless every turf field in the NBL turns suddenly into Windsor’s unplayable concrete slab, the NBL girls will play soccer in the winter of 2018.

“It would be a disservice to our girls not to move,” said Jan Billing, NBL commissioner. “It’s a good fit for our league. The (NBL) boys loved it. It’s the best way to go.”

Jon Schwan, coach of the Montgomery boys soccer team, thought his team’s experience was two thumbs up, a season so positive he couldn’t find a negative.

“I had 85 boys try out for winter,” Schwan said. “I never had more than 65 before. The reason: The kids had a chance to get a full term under their belt, get settled and then went out for soccer.”

Schwan is an unabashed fan of winter soccer. He also is a complete fan of girls soccer and would not want to be thought as critical of them when he says what he is about to say.

“Based on my experience,” he said, “it seems like such a no brainer for me (to move to winter). I can’t wrap my mind around it (why there would be resistance).”

The NBL and the NCS are doing such a thorough job of examining the move to winter, you’d think they discussed and resolved every item, calmed every nerve and turned the issue inside and out to the point of exhaustion. All questions answered? All problems solved? Nope. Such is the nature of American citizens who enjoy their First Amendment rights.

“My first responsibility is to keep my girls safe,” said Debra LaPrath, coach of the annually nationally ranked Maria Carrillo girls, one of the more vocal opponents of moving to the winter. “Our field is a joke. I don’t think there’s a coach in the league who works on a field like we do.”

Carrillo has a grass field, as does Ukiah. Everyone else has turf and no one can question whether LaPrath’s concern is a valid one. A bog is a bog. The schools in the much-smaller NCLI, NCLII and NCL III have consistently voted against moving to the winter because they do not have the financial wherewithal of transforming their grass fields to turf.

“There are only seven states who play winter soccer,” said LaPrath, understanding those seven states typically experience sun, not blizzards, in the winter.

“I love competition, I encourage competition, that’s why we go to New Mexico, New York, New Jersey, Tennessee, Maryland to play nationally ranked teams,” said LaPrath, responding to criticism that she prefers being a big fish in a small pond.

Moving to the winter is not a new topic for LaPrath. She says she has notes dating back to 2006 about the proposal. But times have changed since then. Many grass fields have been replaced by turf. The visibility and popularity of the sport have grown as well.

“I’m not against moving, not against playing different teams (in California),” LaPrath said. “But concerns have to be addressed. They are not hiccups.”

More often than not, when pressure is applied, concerns are met and resolved. Moving to winter, with a NorCal championship date on the schedule, with a state title being finalized, the inevitability of playing for something bigger than an NBL title is all the impetus. That’s why LaPrath said — slowly, somewhat quietly for her — she sees the future quite clearly.

“The handwriting is on the wall,” she said. “I see it (a Northern California championship and then the state). But I’m not going to fold. I’m going to keep pushing for my girls.”

And if it takes a regional and state championship to push the needle of progress?

“I hope so,” LaPrath said.

Ugly Reality Fact #293: Rare is a decision made in this country without disagreement, be it what does your kid want for lunch to, um, who is the president of the United States.

“We have to start someplace,” Billing said. “That’s the way we exist in this world.”

The NBL girls moving to winter addresses the most fundamental reason why we play sports: Curiosity. It is the engine that drives any sport. How good are YOU? How good are WE? How good are THEY? The possible answer can be so delicious, so satisfying, to be a winner in the world’s seventh-largest economy, it’s worth every one of those eight meetings And with the aspirin that come with it.

To contact Bob Padecky email him at bobpadecky@gmail.com.